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FRP reinforcement in
RC structures
Technical report prepared by a working party of Task Group 9.3,
FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymer) reinforcement for
concrete structures

September 2007

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Subject to priorities defined by the Technical Council and the Presidium, the results of fibs work in Commissions and
Task Groups are published in a continuously numbered series of technical publications called 'Bulletins'. The following
categories are used:
category
Technical Report
State-of-Art Report
Manual, Guide (to good practice)
or Recommendation
Model Code

minimum approval procedure required prior to publication


approved by a Task Group and the Chairpersons of the Commission
approved by a Commission
approved by the Technical Council of fib
approved by the General Assembly of fib

Any publication not having met the above requirements will be clearly identified as preliminary draft.
This Bulletin N 40 was approved as an fib Technical Report by Task Group 9.3 in July 2007.
This report was drafted by a working party of Task Group 9.3, FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymer) reinforcement for concrete
structures, in Commission 9, Reinforcing and prestressing materials and systems. The following authors were:
- chapter co-ordinators:

Chris J. Burgoyne 2 (Cambridge Univ., United Kingdom), Ewan Byars 3 (Univ. of Sheffield, United Kingdom;),
Maurizio Guadagnini 6 (Univ. of Sheffield, United Kingdom), Gaetano Manfredi A (Univ. of Naples, Italy),
Kyriacos Neocleous 4, 8, B (Univ. of Sheffield, United Kingdom), Kypros Pilakoutas 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, A, B (Univ. of
1
2
Sheffield, United Kingdom), Luc Taerwe (Ghent Univ., Belgium), Nicolae Taranu (TU Iasi, Romania), Ralejs
7
3
Tepfers (Ralejs Tepfers Consulting, Sweden), Andr Weber (Schck Bauteile GmbH, Germany)
- and/or significant contributors:
Raed Al-Sunna 5 (Univ. of Sheffield, United Kingdom), Chris J. Burgoyne 3 (Cambridge Univ., United Kingdom),
Sotiris Demis 3 (Univ. of Sheffield, United Kingdom), Douglas Gremel 4 (Hughes Brothers, USA), Maurizio
Guadagnini 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, B (Univ. of Sheffield, United Kingdom), Gaetano Manfredi 5, 7, 8 (Univ. of Naples, Italy),
Kyriacos Neocleous 1 (Univ. of Sheffield, United Kingdom), Carlos E. Ospina 5, 6 (Berger/Abam Engineers Inc.),
Marisa Pecce 5 (Univ. of Sannio, Italy), Kypros Pilakoutas 2,3 (Univ. of Sheffield, United Kingdom), Andrea
Prota 5 (Univ. of Naples, Italy), Andreea Serbescu 2 (Univ. of Sheffield, United Kingdom), Peter Sheard 3 (Eurocrete
4, 7, A
4, 5, 8
Ltd., United Kingdom), Harsha Sooriyaarachchi
(Univ. of Sheffield, United Kingdom), Luc Taerwe
2, 3
3,7
(Ghent Univ., Belgium), Vitauts Tamuzs
(Riga Technical Univ., Latvia), Ralejs Tepfers
(Ralejs Tepfers
2
Consulting, Sweden), Andr Weber (Schck Bauteile GmbH, Germany)
1, 2,

chapters in which the author was involved as coordinator or contributor.

Other contributors:

Peter Bischoff (Univ. of New Brunswick, Canada), Valter Dejke (IFP Research AB, Sweden), Stijn Matthys (Ghent
Univ., Belgium), Marco Pisani (Univ. of Milan, Italy), Lluis Torres (Univ. of Girona, Spain)
Full address details of Task Group members may be found in the fib Directory or through the online services on fib's
website, www.fib-international.org.
Cover photo: Casting of a FRP reinforced bridge deck. Top left insert: close-up of FRP reinforcing cage of a guideway for
an urban light transport system. Bottom left insert: samples of FRP reinforcing bars.
fdration internationale du bton (fib), 2007
Although the International Federation for Structural Concrete fib - fderation internationale du bton - does its best to ensure
that any information given is accurate, no liability or responsibility of any kind (including liability for negligence) is accepted
in this respect by the organisation, its members, servants or agents.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, modified, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written
permission.
First published in 2007 by the International Federation for Structural Concrete (fib)
Postal address: Case Postale 88, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Street address: Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne - EPFL, Section Gnie Civil
Tel +41 21 693 2747 Fax +41 21 693 6245
fib@epfl.ch www.fib-international.org
ISSN 1562-3610
ISBN 978-2-88394-080-2
Printed by Sprint-Digital-Druck, Stuttgart

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Preface
In December 1996, CEB set up a Task Group on non-metallic reinforcement with the main
objective of elaborating design guidelines for the use of FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymers)
reinforcement in concrete structures, in accordance with the design format of the CEB-FIP
Model Code. As a result of the merger of CEB and FIP into fib in 1998, this Task Group
continued as fib TG 9.3 FRP reinforcement for concrete structures and is linked to
Commission 9 Reinforcing and prestressing materials and systems. The Task Group has a
fairly high number of active members from universities, research institutes and companies
working in the field of advanced composites. Also many young researchers participated in the
meetings and contributed to this bulletin. This is mainly due to the fact that there were close
working links between TG 9.3 and the EU TMR (European Union Training and Mobility of
Researchers) Network ConFibreCrete, coordinated by Prof. Kypros Pilakoutas from
Sheffield University and, more recently, to the EN-CORE Research Training Network.
The Task Group typically met twice a year and the work was carried out by several working
parties. The first output of the working party on externally bonded reinforcement (EBR) was
published in 2001 as fib Bulletin 14 Externally bonded FRP reinforcement for concrete
structures.
The working party on reinforced concrete, under the convenorship of Kypros Pilakoutas,
elaborated the present bulletin, which deals mainly with the use of FRP bars as internal
reinforcement for concrete structures. Although FRP also has been used in tendons for pretensioning and post-tensioning applications in the last two decades, this mostly concerned
specific applications and products for which the design approach was adapted to meet specific
performance requirements related to the project in question. Consequently, it was decided not
to include design approaches for prestressed concrete members.
The fact that in FRP reinforcement different types of fibres can be combined with different
types of polymers in various volume fractions to obtain bars in various shapes and surface
treatments, results in the fact that rather generic designations such as AFRP (aramid fibres),
GFRP (glass fibres) or CFRP (carbon fibres) are not related to a unique product but rather to a
range of products with varying properties, in contrast to steel reinforcing bars, of which the
main physical and mechanical properties vary within narrow limits. It follows that it is rather
difficult to elaborate generally valid design rules from the abundance of test results obtained
under a wide variety of product characteristics.
In this bulletin the background of the main physical and mechanical properties of FRP
reinforcing bars is presented with special emphasis on durability aspects. For each of the
typical ultimate and serviceability limit states, the basic mechanical model is given, followed
by different design models according to existing codes or design guidelines. As all FRP
materials exhibit an almost linear elastic behaviour followed by brittle failure, the design
formulae for steel reinforcement, which in contrast has a marked plastic behaviour, have to be
adapted in one way or another. Perhaps even the complete design philosophy of RC members
needs to be reconsidered, as proposed in the last chapter.
In this bulletin, no final set of design formulae and approaches is proposed. However, future
activities of the Task Group will deal with the elaboration of design formulae in a code type
format.

fib Bulletin 40: FRP reinforcement in RC structures

iii

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I hope that the present bulletin will be useful and instructive to readers not familiar with the
subject and that it will stimulate the use of FRP, not just as replacement of steel reinforcement
but as a fascinating class of materials with its own specific properties and field of application.
Finally I would like to thank all the members of Task Group 9.3 and in particular the
members of the working party on RC for their contributions throughout the years and their
stimulating discussions during many meetings. Special thanks go to Kypros Pilakoutas and
Maurizio Guadagnini of Sheffield University (UK) for the coordinating activities in the later
stages of the bulletin preparation and to Stijn Matthys of Ghent University (Belgium) who
serves as secretary and webmaster of Task Group 9.3.
Ghent, 28 September 2007
Luc Taerwe
Convenor of fib Task Group 9.3

iv

fib Bulletin 40: FRP reinforcement in RC structures

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Contents
Symbols
1

vii

Introduction
1.1 Reasons for using FRP and possible applications

(1.1.1 Durability of reinforced concrete 1.1.2 Electromagnetic neutrality 1.1.3 High


strength and light weight 1.1.4 High cuttability in temporary applications)

Material characteristics
2.1 Types of material

7
7

(2.1.1 General 2.1.2 Fibres 2.1.3 Polymeric matrices)

2.2
2.3

Typical available FRP products


FRP characteristics

14
14

(2.3.1 General 2.3.2 Physical properties 2.3.3 Short term mechanical properties of
FRP 2.3.4 Long term properties of FRP)

Durability: performance and design


3.1 Scope
3.2 Introduction
3.3 State of the art

31
31
31
31

(3.3.1 The concrete environment)

3.4

Durability of FRP as internal reinforcement

32

(3.4.1 Effect of water 3.4.2 Effects of chlorides 3.4.3 Effects of alkali 3.4.4 Effect
of sustained stress (stress rupture) 3.4.5 Ultraviolet radiation 3.4.6 Thermal actions
3.4.7 Carbonation 3.4.8 Acid attack 3.4.9 Concluding remarks)

3.5

Designing for durability

41

(3.5.1 Existing codes and guidelines 3.5.2 Design value of tensile strength based on
residual strength tests: simplified approach 3.5.3 Refined approach)

3.6
3.7
4

Safety factor for bond strength


Conclusions

Ultimate limit states for bending, compression and tension


4.1 General
4.2 Bending

50
51
53
53
53

(4.2.1 Section properties 4.2.2 Bending characteristics of FRP RC elements


4.2.3 Moment resistance of FRP RC elements 4.2.4 Compression 4.2.5 Tension)

Serviceability Limit States


5.1 Introduction
5.2 Current code limits for SLS

61
61
61

(5.2.1 Code limits for stresses in materials 5.2.2 Code limits for Deflections
5.2.3 Code limits for cracking)

5.3

Deflection: code models and approaches for FRP RC

64

(5.3.1 Deflections in accordance with Eurocode 2 and CEB-FIP Model Code 1990
5.3.2 Deflections in accordance with ACI 440.1R-06 5.3.3 Deflections in accordance
with ISIS Canada (2001) 5.3.4 Deflections in accordance with CAN/CSA-S806 (2002)
5.3.5 Deflections in accordance with the Japanese JSCE (1997) 5.3.6 Other
approaches for evaluation of deflection in FRP RC members 5.3.7 Dimensioning for
deflection control)

5.4

Cracking: code models and approaches for FRP RC

69

(5.4.1 Crack width in accordance with Eurocode 2 5.4.2 Crack width in accordance
with ACI 440.1R-06 5.4.3 Crack width in accordance with the Japanese JSCE (1997)
5.4.4 Other approaches for evaluation of crack width in FRP RC members
5.4.5 Dimensioning for crack width control
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Shear and punching shear


6.1 General
6.2 Effect of FRPs mechanical properties on local shear carrying mechanisms

73
73
73

(6.2.1 Shear transfer in the compression zone 6.2.2 Aggregate interlock


6.2.3 Dowel action of reinforcement 6.2.4 Shear reinforcement)

6.3
6.4

Shear modes of failure in FRP RC elements


Shear design approach for FRP RC elements

76
77

(6.4.1 Design principles)

6.5

Modifications to code design equations to allow for the use of FRP reinforcement

78

(6.5.1 Shear in FRP RC beams 6.5.2 Punching shear in FRP RC slabs

6.6
6.7

Comments on current modifications to existing code equations


Detailing

85
87

(6.7.1 Minimum amount of shear reinforcement 6.7.2 Maximum spacing requirements


6.7.3 Effect of corners on the strength of stirrups)

Bond, anchorage and tension stiffening behaviour


7.1 Introduction
7.2 Macro level bond modelling tension stiffening effect

91
91
92

(7.2.1 General 7.2.2 Effect of various parameters on tension stiffening effect)

7.3

Meso-level modelling of bond

96

(7.3.1 General 7.3.2 Pull out test)

7.4
7.5

Splitting resistance of surrounding concrete


Analytical modelling

99
99

(7.5.1 Local bond modelling)

7.6

Design rules and existing recommendations

101

(7.6.1 Canadian Standards Association Recommendation, CSA 7.6.2 Canadian


Highway Bridge Design Code, CHBDC 7.6.3 Japan Society for Civil Engineering
(JSCE) 7.6.4 American Concrete Institute design recommendations)

Design philosophy
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Examination of philosophy of existing guidelines
8.3 Design philosophy: background to a refined approach

Annex A
A.1
A.2
A.3

Splitting resistance of concrete


Introduction
General
Tests on splitting resistance of concrete

107
107
107
108
111
111
111
112

(A.3.1 Pull out test with eccentrically placed bars A.3.2 Ring pull out test
A.3.3 Overlap splice test)

Annex B
B.1
B.2

Background to a new design philosophy


Introduction
Examination of philosophy of existing guidelines

117
117
117

(B.2.1 Existing design guidelines B.2.2 Structural safety uncertainties)

B.3

A new design philosophy

125

(B.3.1 Design framework based on a new philosophy B.3.2 Application of a new


design philosophy for FRP RC)

B.4

Application of framework for CFRP RC and GFRP RC

127

B.4.1 Establishment of design framework B.4.2 Determination of appropriate f


B.4.3 Design example

References
vi

133
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Symbols
Roman upper case letters
A

effective tension area of concrete surrounding the tension reinforcement divided


by the number of rebars

Ac

area of concrete

Af

area of longitudinal FRP reinforcement

As

area of longitudinal steel reinforcement

At

cross-sectional area of transverse reinforcement normal to assumed splitting plane

Eo

basic value for elastic modulus (200 kN/mm2)

Ec

elastic modulus for concrete

Ef

elastic modulus for FRP

Efk

characteristic value of elastic modulus of FRP

Es

modulus of elasticity for steel

Et

modulus of transverse reinforcement

Ff

force developed in an FRP bar

Fs

force developed in a steel bar

Icr

moment of inertia for cracked concrete section

Ie

effective moment of inertia

Ig

moment of inertia for gross concrete section

Im

modified effective moment of inertia

It

moment of inertia of uncracked section transformed to concrete

K1

boundary condition factor

span

MAT

mean annual temperature

Mcr

applied moment causing the occurrence of the first crack

Mf

factored moment

Mmax

maximum bending moment under service loads

NDP

nationally determined parameter

Pft

target probability of failure

R10

standard reduction of tensile strength in percent per decade

TBD

to be determined

Vcf

concrete shear resistance of an FRP RC member

Vsf

shear resistance of FRP shear reinforcement

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Roman lower case letters


b

width of beam

bo

perimeter of critical section for slabs and footings

bw

width of web (T-section)

concrete cover to the centre of the tension reinforcement (Ch. 5)

the lesser between concrete cover for tension reinforcement and one half of the
bar spacing (Ch 7)

cf

center-to-center distance between rebars

effective depth (Ch. 4, Ch. 6)

bar diameter

db

diameter of an FRP bar in the bent portion

fc, fc

concrete cylinder compressive strength

fcu

concrete cube compressive strength

fcd

design value of concrete compressive strength

fck

characteristic value of concrete compressive strength

fct

concrete tensile strength

fctm

mean value of

ff, ffu

ultimate tensile strength of longitudinal FRP reinforcement

ffb

strength of FRP bent bars

fbod

design bond strength

ffd

design value of tensile strength for FRP

ffkd

design strength of FRP (long term)

ffk res

characteristic value of residual tensile strength

ffk

characteristic value of tensile strength of FRP reinforcement

ffk0

characteristic value of tensile strength (short term test)

ffk1000h

characteristic value of tensile strength (1000h test)

fTest

sustained stress during ageing test

fy

yield strength of steel reinforcement

fyk

characteristic yield strength of steel reinforcement

depth (thickness) of the member

ratio of the depth of compressive concrete zone to the effective depth under
cracked elastic conditions

coefficient which allows the effect of FRP on contribution of concrete to shear


capacity (Ch. 6)

kb

FRP-concrete bond quality coefficient, evaluated to 1.0~1.3; 1.2 for deformed


bars

crack spacing

viii

concrete tensile strength

Symbols

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coefficient accounting for the tension stiffening effect

modular ratio

nmo

exponent for moisture influence

nT

exponent for temperature influence

nSL

exponent for service life influence

nd

exponent for diameter influence

rb

bending radius of FRP bar

slip

bar spacing (Ch. 5)

spacing of shear links (Ch. 6, Ch. 7)

vcf

concrete shear strength of an FRP RC member

vsf

hear strength of FRP shear reinforcement

maximum probable crack width at the bottom surface

wcr

design crack width

neutral axis depth

lever arm (Ch. 6)

Greek lower case letters

angle of reaction force

bond-dependent coefficient, taken equal to 0.5 for all FRP bar types (until further
research data become available)

cc

coefficient taking into account the long term effects on the compressive strength
and of unfavourable effects resulting from the way the load is applied

dimensionless exponent equal to 0.5 for rectangular sections (Ch. 5)

ratio of distance between neutral axis and tension face to distance between neutral
axis and reinforcement steel

coefficient accounting for the duration of load and bond (Ch. 5)

bond reduction factor

concrete strength factor

partial safety factor for concrete

partial safety factor for steel

partial safety factor for FRP

concrete compressive strain

csd

compressive strain due to the effects of creep and shrinkage

cu

ultimate concrete compressive strain

tensile strain in longitudinal FRP reinforcement

fu

ultimate strain of longitudinal FRP reinforcement

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steel reinforcement strain

strength reduction factor

factor defining effective strength of concrete

env

environmental strength reduction factor

env,t

environmental strength reduction factor - tension

env,b

environmental strength reduction factor bond

factor defining effective height of compression zone (Ch. 4)

factor accounting for concrete density (Ch. 6)

multiplier for additional long-term deflection (Ch. 5)

coefficient accounting for tension-stiffnening

time-dependent factor for sustained load, equal to 2.0 for 5 years or more (Ch. 5)

ratio of the neutral axis depth to the effective depth (Ch. 4)

reinforcement ratio of the compressive reinforcement

reinforcement ratio for FRP

fb

balanced reinforcement ratio

min

minimum ratio of longitudinal FRP reinforcement

reinforcement ratio within the effective tension area

longitudinal steel reinforcement ratio

deflection

coefficient to limit deflection of RC elements at SLS (e.g r = 250)

tensile stress developed in longitudinal FRP reinforcement

fe

stress increase in the reinforcement

stress in the tension reinforcement in a cracked section

stress in concrete

sr

stress in tension reinforcement under first crack load

bond stress

max

maximum bond stress

Rd

design value of resisting shear strength of concrete

Symbols

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Introduction

Fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) bars became commercially available as reinforcement for
concrete over the last 15 years and by now over 10 million m are used in construction every
year. There are several reasons why civil and structural engineers may need to use resinmatrix continuous fibre (fibre reinforced polymer FRP) reinforcement in concrete. The
primary reason is durability, but other reasons include electromagnetic neutrality, high
strength and lightweight [Pilakoutas (2000)]. Each of these is briefly examined in the first
section of this introductory chapter and likely applications are identified.
Composite FRP materials are still new in construction and most engineers are unfamiliar
with their properties and characteristics. The second chapter of this bulletin aims to provide
practising engineers with the necessary background knowledge in this field. This chapter also
shows the typical products currently in the international market. It is important that engineers
get an appreciation of the factors that influence the mechanical properties of composites, but
also to realize that FRP is a family of materials with quite diverse properties that can be
changed by suitable design at the manufacturing stage.
The chemical durability of FRP materials is often taken for granted, since after all
composites have been used in aggressive environments for more than fifty years. However,
until recently there was no experience of composites in the highly alkaline and chemically
complex concrete environment. The third chapter deals with the issue of durability and
identifies the parameters that can lead to deterioration. The information from this chapter is
necessary when addressing the design issues. A series of parameters is used to identify the
allowable stress in the FRP after exposure for a specified period of time in a specific
environment.
The remainder of the bulletin is dedicated to design issues. By now there are several
design guidelines that have been produced from around the world. A chronological chart of
the developments in this field is presented in Table 1-1.
The first to introduce design guidelines for FRP reinforced concrete (RC) were the
Japanese in 1996 [ref, 1996]. These guidelines provided the blueprint for most subsequent
guidelines and codes. The modifications made to the existing code equations for concrete are
in general still valid to date. However, neither that nor any of the subsequent guidelines
address the fundamental issue of Design Philosophy. Hence, in this bulletin it was decided to
present the various design aspects first before entering this fundamental issue.
The bulletin covers in four chapters the issues of Ultimate Limit States (primarily dealing
with flexural design), Serviceability Limit States (dealing with deflections and cracking),
Shear and Punching Shear and Bond and Tension Stiffening. It provides both the state-of
the-art but also in many cases the ideas for the next generation of design guidelines which
hopefully will follow soon after this bulletin.
The final chapter deals with the fundamental issue of Design Philosophy. The use of these
new materials as concrete reinforcement has forced researchers in the field to re-think many
of the fundamental principles used until now in RC design. On a number of fronts there is the
realisation that our simplified approaches are prohibiting the introduction of new materials
and a fundamental rethink is required. Central points to this debate are whether brittle modes
of failure should be accepted, what are the levels of safety that are required and if our current
partial material safety factor approach can lead us to the desired results. The bulletin finishes
by proposing a new framework for developing partial safety factors to ensure specific safety
levels that will be flexible enough to cope with new materials.

fib Bulletin 40: FRP reinforcement in RC structures

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Table 1-1: Chronological developments in the field

1818

1849

The Institution of Civil


Engineers was founded (UK)

1910

1970s

Reinforced concrete
was invented

1941

The first ACI building


code was published

1887
the Canadian Society for
Civil Engineering (CSCE)
was founded (Canada)

1953

The first edition of


ACI 318 was published

1987

Use of fibre reinforcement


in concrete

1904
The American Concrete
Institute (ACI) was founded
(USA)

1964

The Comit Euro-International


du Bton CEB (European
Committee for Concrete) was
founded

1991

The Japan Society of


Civil Engineers (JSCE)
established a committee on
continuous fibre reinforced
materials
CSCE technical committee
on FRPs was established

The First CEB International


recommendations were
published

1992

CSCE published a report


on FRPs

The JSCE published a


state-of-the-art report on
continuous fiber reinforcing
materials

ACI founded Committee 440


on fiber reinforced polymer
for internal and external
reinforcement of concrete
BRITE-EURAM Project started

1993

1996

The 4-year European


funded project
EUROCRETE started

1997

TG9.3 of the International


Federetion for Structural
Concrete (fib) was founded

1998

The 4-year European funded


TMR Network ConFibreCrete
started

The CSCE published a set


of design recommendations
for FRP RC in bridges

JSCE published a set of


design recommendations
for FRP RC
EUROCRETE published a
set of design
recommendations for
FRP RC

1999

2000

2001

The Institution of Structural


Engineers published a set
of design recommendations
for FRP RC

The Concrete Society


published technical report
TR55 for externally bonded
FRP reinforcement

The Swedish National code


for FRP RC was published

fib published bulletin 10 on


bond of reinforcement (one
chapter addressed bond of
FRP bars)

2002

fib published bulletin 14 on


externally bonded FRP
reinforcement

ACI Committe 440 published


the first version of their design
recommendation for external
FRP reinforcement (440.2R)

ISIS Canada published a series


of manuals on the use of internal,
external and prestressed FRP
reinforcement

CUR Building & Infrastructure


published a set of
recommendations for FRP RC
(The Netherlands)

ACI Committe 440 published the


first version of their design
recommendation for internal
FRP reinforcement (440.1R)

2003

2004

ACI Committe 440 published


the second version of their
design recommendation for
internal FRP reinforcement
(440.1R)

2005

2006

ACI Committe 440 published The 4-year European funded


ACI 440.3R (Guide to test
RTN Marie Curie Network
methods) and ACI 440.4R
En-Core started
(Prestressing Concrete
Structures with FRP
Tendons)

The National Research


Council (CNR) published
the Italian design
recommendations for
internal FRP reinforcement
(CNR-DT 203/2006)

The National Research


Council (CNR) published
the Italian design
recommendations for
externally bonded FRP
reinforcement
(CNR-DT 200/2004)

ACI Committe 440 published


the third version of their
design recommendation for
internal FRP reinforcement
(440.1R)

1 Introduction

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1.1

Reasons for using FRP and possible applications

1.1.1

Durability of reinforced concrete

It is estimated that the current worldwide infrastructure repair and maintenance bill
exceeds 100 Billion Euros. A large proportion of this expense is spent trying to address
durability problems in concrete structures.
The alkaline environment of concrete normally provides the necessary protection to
conventional steel reinforcement from the environment. Nonetheless, when exposed or when
the alkaline environment is neutralised, conventional steel corrodes and leads to spalling of
the concrete cover. Codes of practice prescribe thick concrete covers to the steel
reinforcement together with other measures to control concrete crack widths and reduce
permeability, whilst the alkalinity of the cement has increased on purpose over the years.
However, the environmental attack is relentless and sooner or later the alkaline properties of
the concrete cover are reduced leading to corrosion and concrete spalling [Holland (1997)].
Different solutions to the reduction of the risk of corrosion in highly aggressive
environments include concrete surface protective coatings to stop the ingress of CO2 and
water soluble chemicals, corrosion inhibitor admixtures at the wet stage, epoxy coating of
reinforcement and galvanizing of reinforcement. A more innovative approach adopted in
recent decades is cathodic protection. This technique, which was initially developed as a
rehabilitation measure, utilizes an electric current or a sacrificial anode to protect the main
reinforcement [Allen and Edwards (1987)]. In some cases, stainless steel reinforcement offers
the most robust anti-corrosion solution. However, most such solutions have either had failures
or are expensive.
FRP reinforcement appeared in the market in the early 1990s as another solution to the
corrosion problem [Clarke (1993), Bakis (1993)], even though the ability of such composites
to resist the alkaline environment of concrete was not thoroughly investigated. However, by
now, durable FRP reinforcement that has been designed to resist the alkaline concrete
environment is available in the market.
The use of FRP in concrete for anti-corrosion purposes is expected to find applications in
structures in or near marine environments, in or near the ground, in chemical and other
industrial plants, in places where good quality concrete can not be achieved and in thin
structural elements. Most initial applications of FRP reinforcement in concrete were built in
Japan, where many demonstration projects were developed in the early 90s. Research and
development is now actively taking place in many countries, most prominently in North
America and Europe. Aramid prestressing bars were used, for example, in the late 80s in the
Netherlands to reinforce some of the posts of a noise barrier along a highway. The choice of
the reinforcing material for this application was made mainly because of the aggressive
environment these posts would be subjected to during their life due to exposure to deicing
salts and exhaust gasses of cars [Taerwe (1993)]. In the United Kingdom, the EUROCRETE
project, installed the first completely FRP reinforced footbridge in 1996 (Fig. 1.1).
This was followed by a number of other demonstration projects including another bridge
in a golf course in Norway and a fender in Qatar. In thin structural elements, FRP
reinforcement offers the possibility of reducing the concrete cover needed to protect the
reinforcement and, hence, this can lead to reducing sections and new designs. Examples of
such elements include cladding panels, parapets and manhole covers.

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Figure 1-1: The first concrete footbridge in Europe with only FRP reinforcement (EUROCRETE project)

1.1.2

Electromagnetic neutrality

Steel reinforcement can interfere with magnetic fields and, hence, it is usually avoided in
applications where magnetic neutrality is required, such as bases of large motors, magnetic
scanning equipment and magnetic railway levitation systems. In Japan, much of the initial
work on the use of composites in concrete was driven by the research on the railway magnetic
levitation system, MAGLEV (Fig. 1.2).

Figure 1-2: Magnetic Levitation Railway System in Japan

Figure 1-3: Soft eye FRP reinforcement

1 Introduction

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Electromagnetic interference is progressively a nuisance especially to the mobile


telecommunications industry and to the defence industry. Applications in these industries are
increasing with time, both in the vicinity of transmitting stations and receiving devices. The
magnetic neutrality of FRPs makes them also an ideal reinforcing solution for rooms in
hospital buildings where magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment is used.
1.1.3

High strength and light weight

The high strength of FRP reinforcement can be utilized to reduce congestion of


reinforcement in certain applications. However, since the strength is developed at a high
strain this has other structural implications. Hence, it is not anticipated that the high strength
of FRP will be a major advantage in many RC applications. However, if FRP is prestressed,
not only is the high strength utilized, but also the lower elastic modulus will imply lower
losses in the longer term. However, the problem of stress corrosion of FRP, particularly of
Glass FRP, should not be overlooked, which means that Carbon and Aramid FRP are likely to
dominate most such applications. Some of the earliest uses of prestressed FRPs took place in
Japan. The first application of Carbon FRP cable strands as tensioning materials dates back to
1988 for the construction of a prestressed concrete bridge over a highway [Zia et al. (1997)].
Aramid FRP prestressing tendons were used in the deck of a stressed ribbon pedestrian bridge
erected in 1991 near Tokyo [Taerwe (1993)].
The favourable weight of FRP may have some practical advantages in construction, but
again it is not anticipated to be the driving force behind its application as reinforcement in
concrete. Normally, the weight of the concrete is high, and hence, small savings in
reinforcement weight will not be significant. However, in some exceptional circumstances,
the use of lightweight reinforcement may speed up construction, especially in inaccessible or
confined spaces, where it is difficult to have many workers side by side. The light weight of
FRP becomes a real advantage when dealing with externally bonded reinforcement for repair
purposes [fib (2001)].
1.1.4

High cuttability in temporary applications

High cuttability of FRP reinforcement, particularly Glass fibre, make it the ideal material
to temporary reinforce concrete structures such as diaphragm walls, which have to be partially
destroyed by TBM machines.
Commonly RC diaphragm walls are reinforced with steel cages that are split in different
sections and than assembled and lowered to the bottom of the excavation trench. Steel cages
prevent TBMs from being used, as the machines would not be able to break the wall without
damaging both its cutting tools and shield.
A solution to this problem is to use a soft-eye in the area that will be bored. The soft
eye consists of a reinforcing cage using Glass fibre reinforced polymers (GFRP) bars and
stirrups, which can be easily cut by the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), thanks to their low
shear strength [Arduini et al. (2005)]. In addition the low weight of the FRP cages enables
easy assembly and handling on site. The use of soft-eye technique reduces significantly the
time needed to build and reinforce diaphragm walls as well as to excavate shaft and station
diaphragm walls along the TBM route. An example of a soft-eye is shown in Fig.1.3.

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Material characteristics

2.1

Types of material

2.1.1

General

Fibre Reinforced Polymer bars are made of continuous fibres impregnated with polymeric
resins. In fibrous polymeric composites, continuous fibres with high strength and high
stiffness are embedded in and bonded together by the low modulus polymeric matrix. In the
case of FRP composites the reinforcing fibres constitute the backbone of the material and they
determine its strength and stiffness in the direction of the fibres.
The polymeric matrix is required to fulfil the following main functions: to bind together
the fibres and protect their surface from damage during handling, fabrication and service life
of the composite; to disperse the fibres and separate them; to transfer stresses to the fibres.
The matrix should be chemically and thermally compatible with the fibres and plays an
important role in controlling the overall stress-strain behaviour of the composite and its
resistance to corrosive environments. The type of polymeric matrix also affects the failure
mechanism and fracture toughness of the resulting composite.
The most common manufacturing process is the pultrusion process in which the fibres are
pulled and impregnated before curing takes place in a heated die. Special fibre arrangements
or a combination of two or more types of reinforcing fibres can be used to impart to the
composite unique mechanical properties. Furthermore, in order to enhance the bond
characteristics of FRP reinforcing bars in concrete, several techniques can be used including
surface deformations, sand coating, over-moulding a new surface on the bar or a combination
of the techniques.
FRP concrete reinforcement does not need to have the same shape as steel reinforcement.
It could take the form of bars, rods, profiles and even permanent formwork. Owing to its good
corrosion resistance, FRP does not need as much cover protection as steel reinforcement and
can be exposed to more severe environments. However, the polymeric matrix may limit its
fire resistance. The main characteristics of the various fibres and polymeric resins used to
make FRP are introduced in the following subsections. The values quoted here should be
regarded as typical - most manufacturers produce different grades of fibre for different
applications, and improved manufacturing techniques may improve composites properties.
2.1.2

Fibres

Fibres are used in polymeric composites because they are strong, stiff and lightweight.
Fibres are stronger than the bulk material that constitutes the fibres due to their preferential
orientation of molecules along the fibre direction and because of the reduced number of
defects present in fibre compared to the bulk material. The desirable structural and functional
requirements of the fibres in composites are: high elastic modulus for an efficient use of
reinforcement; high ultimate strength and convenient elongation at tensile fracture; low
variation of strength between individual fibres; stability of properties during handling and
fabrication; uniformity of fibre diameter and surface; high toughness; durability; availability
in suitable forms and acceptable cost. The most common fibres used to make FRP reinforcing
bars are glass, carbon and aramid [Wallenberger et al. (2001), Walsh (2001), Chang (2001)].
Recently, basalt fibres are also commercially available. All these fibres exhibit a linear elastic
behaviour under tensile loading up to failure [Hollaway (1993)] without showing any yield
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Tensile stress (MPa)

(Figure 2-1). Carbon and aramid fibres are anisotropic with different values of mechanical
and thermal properties in the main directions whereas glass fibres are isotropic [Gay et al.
(2003), Gibson (1994)] as well as basalt fibres.
Typical properties of various types of reinforcing fibres are summarized in Table 2-1.

5000

f
d

4000

c
b

3000
2000
1000
0

4
Tensile strain (%)

Figure 2-1: Stress-strain curves of typical reinforcing fibres: a) carbon (high modulus);
b) carbon (high strength); c) aramid (Kevlar 49); d) S-glass; e) E-glass; f) Basalt

Young
modulus

Ultimate
tensile strain

(MPa)
3450
4580
1800-3500
3500
2500-4000
3500

(GPa)
72.4
85.5
70-76
80.5
350-650
240

(%)
2.4
3.3
2.0-3.0
4.6
0.5
1.1

Aramid (Kevlar 29)

1440

2760

62

4.4

Aramid (Kevlar 49)

1440

3620

124

2.2

Aramid (Kevlar 149)

1440

3450

175

1.4

Aramid (Technora H)

1390

3000

70

4.4

Aramid (SVM)
Basalt (Albarrie)

1430
2800

3800-4200
4840

130
89

3.5
3.1

(10-6/oC)
5
2.9
6
-1.2...-0.1
-0.6...-0.2
-2.0 longitudinal
59 radial
-2.0 longitudinal
59 radial
-2.0 longitudinal
59 radial
-6.0 longitudinal
59 radial
8

Poissons
coefficient

Tensile
strength

E-glass
S-glass
Alkali resistant glass
ECR
Carbon (high modulus)
Carbon (high strength)

(kg/m3)
2500
2500
2270
2620
1950
1750

Thermal
expansion
coefficient

Fibre Type

Density

Table 2-1: Typical properties of fibres for FRP composites

0.22
0.22
0.22
0.20
0.20
0.35
0.35
0.35
0.35
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2.1.2.1

Glass fibres

Glass fibres are the most commonly used reinforcing fibres for polymeric matrix
composites. Molten glass can be drawn into continuous filaments that are bundled into
rovings. During fabrication, fibre surfaces are coated with a sizing to improve wetting by
the matrix and provide better adhesion between the composite constituents. Coating the glass
fibres with a coupling agent provides a flexible layer at the interface, improves the strength of
the bond and reduces the number of voids in the material. The most common glass fibres are
made of E-glass, S-glass and Alkali-resistant glass. E-glass is the least expensive of all glass
types and it has a wide application in fibre reinforced plastic industry. S-glass has higher
tensile strength and higher modulus than E-glass. However, the higher cost of S-glass fibres
makes them less popular than E-glass. Alkali-resistant (AR) glass fibres, which help prevent
corrosion by alkali attack in cement matrices, are produced by adding zirconium. AR-glass
fibres with fibre sizings that are compatible with commonly utilized thermoset resins,
however, are not currently available.
The tensile strength of glass fibres reduces at elevated temperatures but can be considered
constant for the range of temperatures at which polymer matrices can be exposed. The tensile
strength also reduces with chemical corrosion and with time under sustained loads.
2.1.2.2

Carbon fibres

Carbon and graphite fibres are used interchangeably, but there are some significant
differences between these two as far as their modular structure is concerned. Most of the
carbon fibres are produced by thermal decomposition of polyacrylonitrile (PAN). The carbon
atoms are arranged in crystallographic parallel planes of regular hexagons to form graphite,
while in carbon, the bonding between layers is weak, so that it has a two-dimensional
ordering. The manufacturing process for this type of fibre consists of oxidation at 200-300C,
different stages of carbonization at 1000-1500C and 1500-2000C and finally graphitization
at 2500-3000C. Graphite has a higher tensile modulus than carbon, therefore high-modulus
fibres are produced by graphitization. Carbon fibres are commercially available in long and
continuous tows, which are bundles of 1,000 to 160,000 parallel filaments. These fibres
exhibit high specific strength and stiffness; in general, as the elastic modulus increases,
ultimate tensile strength and failure elongation decrease (Fig. 2-1). The tensile modulus and
strength of carbon fibres are stable as temperature rises; they are also highly resistant to
aggressive environmental factors. The carbon fibres behave elastically to failure and fail in a
brittle manner (Fig. 2-1). The most important disadvantage of carbon fibres is their high cost.
They are 10 to 30 times more expensive than E-glass. The high cost of these fibres is caused
by the high price of raw materials and the long process of carbonization and graphitization.
Moreover, graphite fibres cannot be easily wetted by the matrix, therefore sizing is necessary
before embedding them in a matrix.
2.1.2.3

Aramid fibres

Polymeric fibres, using a suitable processing method, can exhibit high strength and
stiffness. This happens as a result of the alignment of the polymer chains along the axis of the
fibre. Aramid is a generic term for a group of organic fibres having the lowest specific gravity
and the highest tensile strength-to-weight ratio among the current reinforcing fibres. Aramid
fibres are currently produced by DuPont (Kevlar), Teijin (Technora) and Akzo Nobel
(Twaron). SVM aramid fibres are also produced in Russia. Kevlar fibres are produced by
extruding liquid crystalline solution of the polymer with partially oriented molecules. Kevlar

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is an aromatic polyamide with rigid aromatic rings. There are several types of Kevlar fibres:
Kevlar 29 (for composites with maximum impact and damage tolerance), Kevlar 49 (used in
reinforced plastics) and Kevlar 149 (with the highest tensile modulus among all available
aramid fibres). The compressive strength of Kevlar fibres is less than 20% of its tensile
strength. Kevlar 49 has brittle behaviour in tension, but under compressive load it is ductile
and absorbs a large amount of energy. It also shows a large degree of plasticity in
compression when subjected to bending. This type of behaviour, not observed in glass or
carbon fibres, gives Kevlar composites better impact resistance. Kevlar has very good tension
fatigue resistance, low creep and it can withstand relatively high temperatures. The strength
and modulus of Kevlar fibres decrease linearly when the temperature rises, but they retain
more than 80% of their original strength at 180C. Kevlar fibres absorb some water, the
amount of absorbed water depends on the type of the fibre. They are sensitive to UV light. At
high moisture content, Kevlar fibres tend to crack internally at pre-existing micro-voids and
produce longitudinal splitting. Kevlar fibres are resistant to many chemicals but they can be
degraded by some acids and alkalis.
2.1.2.4

Basalt fibres

Basalt fibres (Albarrie, Sudaglass, Kammeny Vek and Technobasalt) are singlecomponent materials obtained by melting crushed volcanic lava deposits, having better
physicomechanical properties than glass fibres, but being significantly cheaper than carbon
fibres. The main advantages of basalt fibres are: fire resistance, significant capability of
acoustic insulation and vibration isolation capacity and resistance to chemically active
environments. The working temperature of 982C and the melting point of 1450C are making
basalt useful in applications that demand fire resistance. Investigation of basalt fibres, as
structural reinforcement for concrete structures, is still at the development stage.
2.1.3

Polymeric matrices

2.1.3.1

General

Matrix in a polymeric composite can be regarded as both a structural and a protection


component. Resin is a generic term used to designate the polymer, polymer precursor
material, and/or mixture or formulation thereof with various additives or chemically reactive
components. In general, a polymer is called resin system during processing and matrix after
the polymer has cured. Composite material fabrication and properties are fundamentally
affected by resin, its chemical composition and physical properties. The matrix materials
generally account for 30-60% by volume of a polymeric composite. The main functional and
structural requirements of a matrix are to bind the reinforcing fibres together, transfer and
distribute the load to the fibres and protect the fibres from environmental attack and
mechanical abrasion. Hence, the choice of matrix is of paramount importance when designing
a composite system and will affect both the mechanical and physical properties of the final
product.
There are two basic classes of polymeric matrices used in FRP composites: thermosetting
and thermoplastic resins. Thermosetting resins [Boyle at al. (2001), Pepper (2001), Mil.
Handbook (1999)] are polymers which are irreversibly formed from low molecular weight
precursors of low viscosity. These polymers have strong bonds both with the molecules and
in-between the molecules. They develop a network structure that sets them in shape. If they
are heated after they have been cured, they do not melt and will retain their shape until they
begin to thermally decompose at high temperature.

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Thermoplastics are polymers that do not develop cross-links. They are capable of being
reshaped and repeatedly softened and hardened by subjecting them to temperature cycles
reaching values above their forming temperature.
2.1.3.2

Thermosetting resins

Thermosetting resins have initial low viscosity allowing for high fibre volume fractions to
be incorporated while still retaining good fibre wet-out. Thermosets are easy to process and
low in cost. The three-dimensional network of thermosets results in less flow under stress,
better dimensional stability, lower coefficient of thermal expansion and greater resistance to
solvents. Thermosetting polymers, however, have a limited storage life; long fabrication time
and low failure strain which results in low impact resistance. Shelf life is the time the
unmixed resin system can be stored without degradation. Pot life or gel time is the time the
mixed resin can be handled before the viscosity grows to a point where processing is no
longer possible. The cure cycles can take place at room temperature or at high temperature
and can vary from minutes to hours depending on the choice of catalyst and the reactivity of
the resin. The reactions are exothermic and gelation is usually rapid. Once cured, the mixture
thickens, releases heat, solidifies, and shrinks. The volumetric shrinkage upon curing varies
between 4% for epoxy to 8% for polyester. Since the fibrous reinforcement does not shrink
internal stresses can be induced causing cracking, fibre misalignment and dimensional
inaccuracy. In civil engineering applications the most common thermosetting resins are
epoxy, polyesters and vinyl ester. Typical properties of thermosetting matrices are shown in
Table 2.2.
Table 2-2: Typical properties of thermosetting matrices

Property
3

Density (kg/m )
Tensile strength (MPa)
Longitudinal modulus (GPa)
Poissons coefficient
Thermal expansion coefficient (10-6/oC)
Moisture content (%)

Polyester
1200 - 1400
34.5 - 104
2.1 3.45
0.35 0.39
55 - 100
0.15 0.60

Matrix
Epoxy
1200 - 1400
55 - 130
2.75 4.10
0.38 0.40
45 - 65
0.08 0.15

Vinyl ester
1150 - 1350
73 81
3.0 3.5
0.36 0.39
50 - 75
0.14 0.30

Table 2-3: Typical properties for some thermoplastic matrices

Property
3

Density (kg/m )
Tensile strength (MPa)
Tensile modulus (GPa)
Tensile elongation (%)
Poissons coefficient
Thermal expansion coefficient (10-6/ oC)

PEEK
1320
100
3.24
50
0.40
47

Matrix
PPS
1360
82.7
3.30
5
0.37
49

PSUL
1240
70.3
2.48
75
0.37
56

2.1.3.2.1 Epoxy resins


The term epoxy resin defines a class of thermosetting resins prepared by the ring-opening
polymerization of compounds containing an average of more than one epoxy group per
molecule. Prior to adding fibres, small amounts of reactive curing agents are added to liquid
resin to initiate polymerization. Cross links are formed and epoxy liquid resin changes to a
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solid material. The density of cross-links depends on the chemical structure of the starting
resin, curing agent and reaction conditions. The cross links formed during the curing process
have a major role in establishing the final properties of the solid epoxy. Tensile modulus and
tensile strength, thermal stability and chemical resistance are improved as the density of the
cross links increases. On the other hand, fracture toughness and strain-to-failure are reduced.
High-performance epoxies have been prepared with a variety of phenolics and aromatic
amines. Epoxy resins can be partially cured; thus the reinforcement can be pre-impregnated
with liquid resin and partially cured to give a prepreg.

Stress (MPa)

The main advantages of epoxy resins are high mechanical properties, easy processing, low
shrinkage during cure (leading to good bond characteristics when used as adhesives) and good
adhesion to a wide variety of fibres. Epoxies have high corrosion resistance and are less
affected by water and heat than other polymeric matrices. Curing of such resins can be
achieved at temperatures ranging between 5C and 150C. Epoxy resins can be formulated to
have a wide range of stiffness [Schwartz (1992)] and other mechanical properties (Fig. 2-2)
140
High modulus

120

Intermediate modulus

100
80
60

Low modulus

40
20
0
0

7
8
Strain (%)

Figure 2-2: Stress-strain curves of epoxy matrix resins of different modulus

The main disadvantage of epoxy resins are their relatively high cost and long curing
period. The cost of epoxies is proportional to their performance, and varies over a broad
range, but epoxies are generally more expensive than polyesters and vinyl esters. The
toughness of the resin and the composite can be controlled by adding additives, including
thermoplastics.
2.1.3.2.2

Polyester matrix

The so-called general purpose polyester unsaturated resins are made by using ethylene
glycol, either orthophthalic or isophtalic acid as the saturated diacid, and fumaric as the
unsaturated diacid. A wide variety of polyesters is available, based on the choice of the diacid.
The flexibility of polyesters may be controlled by the choice of diacids and diols. Relatively
flexible polyesters are produced from highly aliphatic precursors; high-modulus (stiff)
polyesters, brittle, with increasing glass-transition temperatures may be obtained from
combinations with large amounts of aromatic diacids and/or aromatic diols.
Polyester resins are low viscosity liquids based on unsaturated polyesters, which are
dissolved in a reactive monomer, such as styrene. The addition of heat and a free radical

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initiator, such as organic peroxide, results in a cross-linking reaction, converting the low
viscosity solution into a three dimensional thermosetting matrix. Cross linking can also be
accomplished at room temperature using peroxides and suitable activators. Polyester resins
can be formulated to have good UV resistance and to be used in outdoor applications. There
are many glass fibre reinforced polyester structures that have been in use for more than 30
years, only affected by some discolouration and small loss in strength. Superior durability and
resistance to fibre erosion can be obtained when styrene is supplemented with methyl
methacrilate (MMA). The resistance to burning of polyester resins can be achieved by using
either fillers or a specially formulated flame-retardant polyester resin, depending on the
degree of resistance required. Incorporating halogens into a polyester resin has been found to
be an effective way of improving fire retardancy. Polyester resins are used in applications
requiring corrosion resistance.

Stress (MPa)

The use of glass fibre does not improve and may even reduce the corrosion resistance of
polyester resins. This is especially true in strong caustic and hydrofluoric environments
because these chemicals can attack and dissolve glass fibres. Other chemical agents are added
to extend pot life, modify the chemical structures between cross-links and reduce resin
viscosity. Some representative material data for polyester resin are given in Table 2-2. They
correspond to unreinforced cast samples of resin. Using any fibrous reinforcement
dramatically improves the mechanical properties of the resin. The main disadvantage of
polyester resins is their high volumetric shrinkage. This volumetric shrinkage can be reduced
by adding a thermoplastic component. Cross link can affect the properties of polyester resins
in the same manner as for epoxy resins. Fig. 2-3 gives typical stress-strain curves for general
purpose polyester matrices tested in tension and compression. The graph shows a non-linear
relationship and this is a function of the viscoelastic nature of the material.

160

120
compression
80

* tension
40

0
0

10

12
Strain (%)

Figure 2-3: Stress-strain curves for general purpose polyester resin

2.1.3.2.3 Vinyl ester matrix


Vinyl esters are resins based on methacrylate and acrylate. Some variations contain
urethane and ester bridging groups. Due to their chemical structure these resins have fewer
cross links and they are more flexible and have higher fracture toughness than polyesters.
They also have very good wet-out and good adhesion when reinforced with glass fibres. Their
properties are a good combination of those of epoxy resins and polyesters and make them the
preferred choice for the manufacturing of glass fibre reinforced composites. They exhibit
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some of the beneficial characteristics of epoxies such as chemical resistance and tensile
strength, as well as those of polyesters such as viscosity and fast curing. However, their
volumetric shrinkage is higher than that of epoxy and they have only moderate adhesive
strength compared to epoxy resins. There is a great variety of vinyl ester resins available for
applications up to 170C. Vinyl ester resins are highly resistant to acids, alkalis, solvents and
peroxides. Brominated versions have high flame retardancy. Typical properties are given in
Table 2-2.
2.1.3.3

Thermoplastic matrices

Thermoplastic resins [Barbero (1999), McKague (2001)] are softened from solid state to
be processed hot and they return to this state after processing is completed and they cool
down. They do not undergo any chemical transformation during processing. Thermoplastics
have high viscosity at processing temperature, and, therefore, they are difficult to process.
Since impregnation is impaired by high viscosity, special care must be taken to ensure contact
between the fibres and the polymeric resin.
Composites with thermoplastic matrices can be repaired because the transition to the
softened state can be achieved any number of times by application of heat. Polyether ether
ketone (PEEK) is the most common thermoplastic resin for high performance applications. It
has high fracture toughness, which is important for damage tolerance of composites. PEEK
has very low water absorption (about 0.5% by weight) at room temperature. Polyphenylene
sulphide (PPS) is a thermoplastic with very good chemical resistance. Polysulfone (PSUL) is
a thermoplastic with very high elongation to failure and excellent stability under hot and wet
conditions. Some properties of these thermoplastic matrices are given in Table 2-3.

2.2

Typical available FRP products

The use of FRP products in civil engineering field starts around the 1950s when GFRP
rebars have been firstly investigated. Nowadays commercially available FRP products (Fig. 24) used as internal or external reinforcement for concrete members are: grids (Fig. 2-5), rebars
(Fig 2-6 and Fig. 2-7), fabrics (Fig. 2-8) and plates or strips (Fig. 2-9).

2.3

FRP characteristics

2.3.1

General

The use of FRP reinforcing bars in concrete structures is strongly influenced by their
physical and mechanical properties. FRP bars can be designed and manufactured to meet
specific requirements of a particular application. Available design variables include the choice
of constituents (fibre and polymeric matrix), the volume fractions of fibre and matrix, fibre
orientation and the manufacturing process. Other factors such as dimensional effects and
quality control during fabrication play an important role in determining the characteristics of
FRP bars. The properties of FRP materials are also influenced by loading history, duration of
loading, temperature and humidity.

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2 Material characteristics

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Figure 2-4: FRP products

Figure 2-5: FRP grids (Nefcom Ltd.)

Figure 2-6: FRP rebars (Schck Bauteile GmbH)

Figure 2-7: FRP rebars

Figure 2-8: FRP fabrics

Figure 2-9: FRP plate and strips

A key element in evaluation of FRP properties is the characterization of the relative


volume and/or mass content of the various constituent materials. The mass fractions are easier
to obtain during fabrication or using one of the experimental methods after fabrication. The
volume fractions are used in the micromechanics of composites. Consider a volume vc of a
composite material which consists of volume vf of fibres and volume vm of the matrix
material. The subscripts c, f and m represent the composite material, fibres, and the matrix
material respectively. Also consider mc, mf and mm the corresponding mass of the composite,
fibres and the matrix material respectively. The volume fraction and the mass fraction are
denoted by V and M respectively. Assuming that no voids are present in the composite the
volume fractions and the mass fractions are defined as follows:

vc = v f + vm

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Vf =

vf

and Vm =

vc
V f + Vm = 1

vm
vc

(2-2)

(2-3)

mc = m f + mm
Mf =

mf
mc

(2-4)

and M m =

mm
mc

2.3.2

Physical properties

2.3.2.1

Density

(2-5)

The density c of the composite can be obtained in terms of the densities of the
constituents (f and m) and their volume fractions using the rule of mixtures for densities:

c = f V f + mVm

(2-6)

Using the values for the densities of constituents, Table 2-1 and Table 2-2, the densities of
FRP composite reinforcements, based on thermosetting resins, for usual values of fibre
volume fractions (Vf = 0.5 to 0.75) are given in Table 2-4. As can be seen from this table,
FRP elements have a density ranging from 0.165 to 0.275 that of steel, which leads to easier
handling on the construction site and lower transportation costs.
Table 2-4: Typical densities of reinforcing bars for Vf = 0.5 to 0.75 (kg/m3)

FRP
Matrix
Polyester
Epoxy
Vinyl ester

2.3.2.2

CFRP

AFRP

GFRP

Steel

1430-1650
1440-1670
1440-1630

1310-1430
1320-1450
1300-1410

1750-2170
1760-2180
1730-2150

7850

Coefficient of thermal expansion

The coefficients of thermal expansion (CTE) of FRP bars depend on the types of fibre,
resin and volume fraction of the constituents. The polymeric matrices and the glass fibres can
be considered isotropic, while carbon and aramid fibres are orthotropic. The longitudinal
CTE, (L), is dominated by the properties of the fibres, while the transverse CTE, (T), is
mainly determined by the polymeric matrix. Fig. 2-10 indicates the main directions of a
unidirectional FRP rod.
3(T)

2(T)
1(L)

Figure 2-10: Unidirectionally reinforced composite FRP bar with main material axes:
1(L) - longitudinal direction; 2(T), 3(T) - transverse directions

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For the case of isotropic constituents the following expressions [Schapery (1968)] have
been developed to determine CTEs:

L =

E f V f f + EmVm m

(2-7)

E f V f + EmVm

T = (1 + m )Vm m + (1 + f )V f f L LT

(2-8)

where f is the CTE of fibre, m is the CTE of matrix, Ef is the Youngs modulus of fibres, Em
is the Youngs modulus of matrix and LT is the the major Poissons ratio of composite
determined with Eq. (2-9):

LT = f V f + mVm

(2-9)

in which f is the Poissons ratio of fibre and m is the Poissons ratio of matrix.
For the case of orthotropic fibres (such as aramid and carbon/graphite) the longitudinal
fibre modulus, EfL, is different from the transverse modulus, EfT, and so are fL and fT, the
CTEs in the main directions. Since the matrix is assumed to be isotropic the matrix modulus
does not need a second subscript and the thermal expansion coefficients [Kollar and Springer
(2003)] can be determined with:

L =

E f LV f f L + EmVm m

(2-10)

E f LV f + EmVm

T = V f fT + Vm m + V f fLT ( fL L ) + V m m ( m L )

(2-11)

in which fL is the the fibre longitudinal CTE, fT is the the fibre transverse CTE and fLT is
the Poissons ratio of the reinforcing fibre in the plane LT (Fig. 2-10). Coefficients of thermal
expansion for some FRP reinforcing bars with fibre volume fractions Vf = 0.5 to 0.75 are
given in Table 2-5 [Rizkalla and Mufti (2001), ACI (2006)].
Table 2-5: Typical coefficients of thermal expansion for steel and FRP materials (Vf = 0.5 to 0.75)

Direction

Steel

Longitudinal, L
Transverse, T

11
11

Coefficient of Thermal Expansion (x 10-6/oC)


Stainless
GFRP
CFRP
Steel
10 to 16.5
6 to 10
-9 to 0
10 to 16.5
21 to 23
74 to 104

AFRP
-2 to -6
60 to 80

The negative values of CTEs indicate that the material contracts when temperature
increases and expands when temperature decreases. Plain concrete is considered isotropic and
has a coefficient of thermal expansion that varies from 7x10-6 to 13x10-6/oC [Neville (1996)].
Long-term effects of differences in coefficients of thermal expansion and elastic properties of
bonded materials (FRP bars and concrete) need to be considered. Test methods to determine
the coefficients of thermal expansion for FRP bars have been developed by JSCE [JSCE E536 (1995)] and ACI 440K [Benmokrane et al. (2001)].

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2.3.2.3

Thermal effects on FRP reinforcing bars

It is now accepted that, in case of FRP composites, not all thermal exposure has a
damaging effect, since in some cases, it can actually be beneficial to the post cure of FRP
composites. At high temperatures polymeric resins will soften due to increased molecular
mobility causing an increase in the viscoelastic response accompanied by a reduction in
mechanical properties and, in some cases, an increased susceptibility to moisture absorption
[Karbhari et al. (2003)]. FRP composites should not be used at temperatures above their glass
transition temperature, Tg (Tg is the temperature at which increased molecular mobility results
in significant changes in the properties of a cured resin system). At Tg the transition between
the soft rubbery state of the polymeric resin and its stiffer or glassy state occurs. The value of
Tg depends on the type of resin and it is normally in the range of 70 to 175C: 70 to 100C for
polyester, 70 to 163C for vinyl ester and 95 to 175C for epoxy resin [Bootle et al. (2001)].
For purposes of design it is recommended that materials have Tg at least 30C above the
maximum expected temperature [Karbhari et al. (2003)]. Although above Tg fibres continue to
support some load in their direction, the tensile properties of FRPs decrease due to the
reduction of the matrix/fibre bond. Experiments carried out at temperatures well beyond Tg,
have proven the reduction of other FRPs mechanical properties such as shear and bending
strength [Kumahara et al. (1993), Wang and Evans (1995)].
The bond between FRP bars and concrete is mainly dependent on the properties of
polymeric resin at the surface of the bar [fib (2000)]. At temperatures close to Tg the
mechanical properties of matrix are sharply reduced and the matrix is not able to transfer
stresses from concrete to the fibres. Reductions in bond strength have been reported in tests
carried out by Katz et al. (1999) at temperatures above Tg: 20-40% reduction in strength when
reinforcing bars with Tg = 60-124C were tested at 100C and 80-90% reduction at a
temperature of 200C [ACI (2006)]. Experimental work has also been performed on FRP
reinforced beams subjected to elevated temperatures under sustained load [Okamoto et al.
(1993)]. Failure of these beams occurred when the temperature of reinforcement reached
values of 250 to 350C [Sakashita et al. (1997)].
Localised effects, such as increased width of cracks and increased deflections, can also
occur in FRP reinforced beams. To avoid structural collapse high temperatures should not
reach the end regions of FRP bars allowing anchorage to be maintained. Structural collapse
can occur if anchorage is lost due to softening of the polymer and also when temperature rises
above the temperature threshold of fibres: 880C for glass fibres, 180C for aramid fibres and
1600C for carbon fibres [Wallenberger et al. (2001), Walsh (2001), Chang (2001)].
Low (negative) temperatures acting on FRP composites can result in matrix hardening,
matrix microcracking, and fibre-matrix bond degradation. Freezethaw cycles associated with
salt can result in degradation evident in swelling and drying as well as expansion of salt
deposits. Fire may ignite composite materials with organic matrices and the results of this
ignition are the spread of flame on the composite surface, release of heat and generation of
smoke (potentially toxic). When the polymeric resin in the outermost layer of FRP bar burns,
heat-induced gasification occurs. This has an insulating effect, slowing the heat penetration in
the depth of composite. The first effect of fire is to heat up the composite surface. At
temperatures beyond Tg the elastic modulus of composite decreases. This loss in modulus is
reversible below the temperature of chemical degradation. Further increase in temperature
results in the degradation of the chemical structure of the resin and irreversible loss in load
carrying characteristics of the material. In FRP reinforced concrete elements the reinforcing
bars are embedded in concrete and the reinforcement cannot burn due to the lack of oxygen
but the resin will soften due to the excessive heat with the effects described above. When
operating at elevated temperatures, other issues may also affect the performance of FRP
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reinforcement. The high transverse coefficient of thermal expansion of FRP may induce
additional tensile stresses in the surrounding concrete. This phenomenon can be particularly
significant in prestressed elements as these additional stresses, in combination with those
resulting from the Hoyer-effect, may cause severe longitudinal cracks. FRPs, however, can be
engineered to improve their performance in such applications and, for instance, the Arapree
bars were developed with a compressible coating that serves as outer layer [Taerwe (1993)].
Fire related issues associated with polymeric composites are more severe in closed spaces
(such as buildings and tunnels) than in open spaces (such as bridges). Based on the existing
state of knowledge, the use of FRP reinforcing bars is not recommended for structures in
which fire resistance is vital to maintain structural integrity [ACI (2003)].
2.3.3

Short term mechanical properties of FRP

The properties of composite materials can be determined by experimental measurements


(see for example ACI 2004), but one set of experimental measurements determines the
properties of a fibre-matrix system produced by a single fabrication process. When any
change in the system variable occurs, additional measurements are required. These
experiments, however, may become time consuming and cost prohibitive and a
micromechanical approach may be used to estimate properties of composite materials in terms
of the properties of their constituent materials [Agarwal and Broutman (1990), Daniel and
Ishai (1994)].
2.3.3.1

Tensile properties

The main factors influencing the tensile properties (strength and elastic modulus) of FRP
reinforcing bars are: the properties of the constituents (fibres and matrix) and their volume
fractions, distribution of the constituents, physical and chemical interactions, fabrication
procedure and the manufacturing quality control. The composite literature [Agarwal and
Broutman (1990)] gives the following analytical models to determine the longitudinal
modulus, EL, and the longitudinal tensile strength fLt:
EL = E fLV f + Em (1 V f )

(2-12)

where EfL is the elastic modulus of the fibre in the longitudinal direction and Em is the elastic
modulus of matrix material considered isotropic. Carbon and aramid fibres are orthotropic
and they have different values of longitudinal modulus and transverse modulus, EfT. The ratio
EfL/EfT is 24.0 for Kevlar, 15.3 for high strength carbon and 65.0 for high modulus carbon
[Gay et al. (2003)]. In case of a hybrid FRP, which includes two or more types of fibres
embedded in polymeric matrix, the longitudinal modulus is expressed as:
EL = E1 fLV1 f + E2 fLV2 f + Em (1 V1 f V2 f )

(2-13)

where indexes 1f, 2f denote the first type of fibres and the second type of fibres, respectively.
FRP bars do not exhibit any yielding before tension failure and their behaviour shows a
linearly elastic stress-strain relation until tensile rupture (Fig. 2-11). Usually in FRP
composites the ultimate tensile strain of the fibre is lower than that of the matrix and the
following expression can be used to determine the longitudinal tensile strength:

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E
f Lt = f ft V f + m (1 V f )
E fL

(2-14)

Stress (MPa)

where fft is the longitudinal fibre tensile strength. The tensile properties of typical FRP
composite bars are given in Table 2-6. The tensile strength of FRP bars varies with cross
sectional area. Reductions in strength of GFRP up to 40% as the diameter increases from 9.5
to 22.2mm have been reported in the literature [Faza et al. (1993)] comparing results from
different manufacturers. However a 7% strength reduction in pultruded AFRP bars has been
identified when the bar diameter increased from 3 to 8mm [ACI (2006)]. Therefore the bar
manufacturers should provide the strength values of all different bar sizes.
2500
c
2000
a
1500

1000
500
0
0

5
6
Strain (%)

Figure 2-11: Stress-strain diagrams of unidirectional epoxy composites in fibre direction: a) glass/epoxy;
b) aramid/epoxy; c) carbon/ epoxy.
Table 2-6: Typical tensile properties of FRP (Vf = 0.5 to 0.75) and steel reinforcing bars

Property
Longitudinal modulus
(GPa)
Longitudinal tensile strength
(MPa)
Ultimate tensile strain
(%)

Material
Steel

GFRP

CFRP

AFRP

200

35 to 60

100 to 580

40 to 125

450 to 700

450 to 1600

600 to 3500

1000 to 2500

5 to 20

1.2 to 3.7

0.5 to 1.7

1.9 to 4.4

A test method for tensile strength and modulus of FRP bars has been developed and
published by ACI Committee 440 [ACI (2004)], and has been submitted to ASTM for
approval and standardization. Also a test method for evaluation of tensile properties of
continuous fibre reinforced materials used in place of steel reinforcement [JSCE-E 531
(1995)] was adopted by the Japan Society of Civil Engineering [Machida (1997)]. The bar
manufacturer should provide the tensile properties of a particular FRP bar and a description of
the method used to determine these properties. The FRP bars made of thermosetting resins
cannot be bent once they have been manufactured. FRP bars can be fabricated with bends, but
in this case a strength reduction of 40% to 50% compared to the tensile strength of the straight
bar can occur in the bent regions (see Chapter 6). This reduction is caused by fibre buckling
and stress concentration [ACI (2003)].

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2.3.3.2

Compressive properties

Although it is not recommended to rely on FRP bars to resist compressive stresses a brief
description of their behaviour under compression is useful and it is given in the following.
When FRP components are loaded in longitudinal compression the theoretical models for
tensile longitudinal strength cannot be used since the failure of the composites is, in many
cases, associated with microbuckling or kinking of the fibre within the restraint of matrix
material. Accurate experimental values for the compressive strength are difficult to obtain and
they are highly dependent on specimen geometry and the testing method. The mode of failure
depends on the properties of constituents (fibres and resin) and the fibre volume fraction. The
main longitudinal compression failure modes are microbuckling of fibres, transverse tensile
fracture due to Poisson strain and shear failure of fibres without buckling. Analytical models
have been developed for each failure model to determine the longitudinal compressive
strength, fLc, and they are given below.
a) microbuckling of fibres in the shear mode [Jones (1999)] when Vf 0.4:
f Lc =

Gm
1Vf

(2-15)

where Gm is the shear modulus of matrix:


Gm =

Em
2(1 + m )

(2-16)

b) transverse tensile fracture due to Poisson strain [Agarwal and Broutman (1990)]:
E f V f + Em (1 V f ) (1 V f1/ 3 ) mu
f Lc =
f V f + m (1 V f )

(2-17)

where mu is the the ultimate tensile strain of the matrix.


c) failure of fibres in direct shear [Daniel and Ishai (1994)] when Vf is very high:

E
f Lc = 2 f fs V f + (1 V f ) m
E f

(2-18)

where ffs is the shear strength of the fibres.


Experimental work [Mallick (1988)] has proved that compressive strength of FRPs are
lower than the tensile strengths. Compressive strength is higher for bars with higher tensile
strengths, except for AFRP bars where fibres have a nonlinear behaviour in compression even
at low levels of stress. The compressive modulus of elasticity of FRP reinforcing bars is also
smaller than its tensile modulus of elasticity, being above 80% for GFRP and 85% for CFRP
and 100% of the same products [ACI (2006)]. Premature failures in the test resulting from end
brooming and internal fibre microbuckling seem to be the cause for the lower values of the
compressive modulus. Standard test methods existing in composite literature are not suitable
for FRP bars. Specific standard methods to characterise the compressive behaviour of FRP

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bars have not yet been developed. The compressive properties for a particular bar should be
given by the manufacturer who should also provide a description of the test method used to
determine the properties.
2.3.3.3

Shear properties

The behaviour of FRP composites under shear loading is dominated by the matrix
properties and local stress distributions. The specialised composite literature is particularly
dedicated to the in-plane shear of lamina and laminated structures, but FRP reinforcing bars
are mainly subjected to transverse shear. Therefore shear properties should be evaluated with
respect to this type of loading (Fig. 2-12).

3(T)

2(T)
1(L)

13

Figure 2-12: FRP bar subjected to transverse shear

The interlaminar shear modulus can be determined with the semiempirical stresspartitioning parameter [Tsai and Hahn (1980)]:
G13 = Gm

where

13 =

V f + 13 (1 V f )

13 (1 V f ) + V f Gm / G f

3 4 m + Gm / G f
4(1 m )

(2-19)

(2-20)

in which Gf is the fibre shear modulus. The transverse shear may cause matrix splitting
without shearing off any fibres. The interlaminar (transverse) shear strength is a matrix
dominated property, because the shear force acts on a plane perpendicular to the fibre
direction. In this case, fibres do not resist shear and, even worst, the cross sections of the
fibres can be considered circular inclusions causing stress concentrations in the matrix. There
are no predictive theoretical models for the transverse shear strength; therefore it can be taken
in preliminary design as the value of the shear strength of bulk matrix [Barbero (1999)].
Placement of fibres in off-axis directions across the layers of longitudinal fibres increases the
shear resistance of unidirectional FRP composites. In case of FRP bars a significant increase
in shear resistance can be achieved by winding or braiding fibres transverse to the main
reinforcing fibres. Pultruded bars can be strengthened in shear by using continuous strand mat
in addition to longitudinal fibres [ACI (2006)]. Test methods for the characterization of the
shear behaviour of FRP bars, in terms of both dowel action and interlaminar shear, have been
developed by various committees and are now available in the literature [JSCE-E 540 (1995),
ACI (2004), ASTM (2002)]. The properties needed for a particular application should be
obtained from the bar manufacturer who should also provide information on the test method
used to determine the reported shear values.

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2.3.3.4

Effects of loading direction on mechanical properties

FRP bars are orthotropic and their best properties are in the fibre direction. When FRP
reinforcement is utilised in stirrups the strength in an inclined direction x with an angle to
the fibre direction (so called off-axis strength) is required. Formulas have been developed for
both stiffness and strength in off-axis direction (Fig. 2-13).
3(T)

2(T)
1(L)

Figure 2-13: Axis x rotated with respect to L

The elastic modulus along a certain direction x rotated with an angle with respect to axis
L, (Fig. 2-13) is given in the expression below [Taranu and Isopescu (1996)], where c = cos
and s = sin. This modulus decreases rapidly as increases.

Ex ( ) =

1
1

c
s
+
+ 2c 2 s 2
LT
EL ET
2GLT EL
4

(2-21)

where ET and GLT are the transverse modulus and the in-plane shear modulus respectively:
ET =

Em E fT
EmV f + E fT (1 V f )

GLT =

GmG f
GmV f + G f (1 V f )

(2-22)

(2-23)

The ultimate tensile strength along any direction [Gay et al. (2003)] is given by the
following relation:
f x ( ) t =

1
1
c4 s4
1
+ 2 + c2 s2 2 2
2
f Lt f Tt
f LTs f Lt

(2-24)

where fTt and fLTs are the transverse tensile strength and the in-plane (Fig. 2-14) shear strength
respectively. The ultimate tensile strength transverse to the fibre direction can be determined
[Nielsen (1974)] using the following formula:

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(3),z

(2)T
Transverse

(1)L
Longitudinal
x

Figure 2-14: Principal and rotated axes of rectangular FRP bar

fTt =

ET f mt
(1 V f1/ 3 )
Em

(2-25)

where fmt is the tensile strength of the matrix. The in-plane shear strength of the composite can
be determined [Barbero (1999)] by:

G
f LTs = 1 + (V f V f1/ 2 ) 1 m f msCv
(2-26)
G
f

where fms is the shear strength of matrix material, Cv is a reduction coefficient to account for
voids (Eq. 2-27) and Vv is the void volume fracture which usually can be neglected; a good
FRP material should have less than 1% voids.
Cv = 1

4Vv
(1 V f )

(2-27)

When exceeds 15o the tensile strength decreases dramatically since the influence of the
transverse properties, matrix dominated, prevail. FRP reinforcing bars are essentially
unidirectional anisotropic composites with very different stiffness and strength characteristics
in the fibre and transverse directions. A comparative presentation of the main typical shortterm mechanical properties in the principal material directions is given in Table 2-7 [Daniel
and Ishai (1994), Gibson (1994), Taranu and Isopescu (1996)].

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Table 2-7: Typical short-term mechanical properties of GFRP, CFRP and AFRP

Property
Fibre volume fraction
Density (kg/m3)
Longitudinal modulus (GPa)
Transverse modulus (GPa)
In-plane shear modulus (GPa)
Major Poisson ratio
Minor Poisson ratio
Longitudinal tensile strength (MPa)
Transverse tensile strength (MPa)
In-plane shear strength (MPa)
Ultimate longitudinal tensile strain (%)
Ultimate transverse tensile strain (%)
Longitudinal compressive strength (MPa)
Transverse compressive strength (MPa)

2.3.4

E-glass/epoxy
0.55
2100
39
8.6
3.8
0.28
0.06
1080
39
89
2.8
0.5
620
128

Kevlar 49/epoxy
0.60
1380
87
5.5
2.2
0.34
0.02
1280
30
49
1.5
0.5
335
158

Carbon/epoxy
0.65
1600
177
10.8
7.6
0.27
0.02
2860
49
83
1.6
0.5
1875
246

Long term properties of FRP

FRP composites differ significantly from steel with respect to their long-term properties
and it is important to understand their behaviour and apply the corresponding rationale in the
design of reinforced concrete elements. This section deals with the most important issues
regarding the long term behaviour of FRP composites and their consequences on the design
process.
2.3.4.1

Creep and creep rupture

Creep is the term used to describe the progressive deformation of a material with time
under constant load. Polymeric resins are viscoelastic and their behaviour is characterized by
creep, stress relaxation and load rate effects [Ferry (1980)] (see also Chapter 3).
Two main issues need to be distinguished in relation to creep: the creep strain under longterm load and the long-term tensile strength under sustained load [Balazs and Borosnyoi
(2001)]. Most materials start to exhibit significant creep when significant loads are imposed at
temperatures exceeding 40% of their melting temperatures [Hull and Clyne (1996)].
Thermosetting resins do not have well defined melting temperatures, but they tend to degrade
when subjected to temperature increases of about 100C above ambient. They are fairly
resistant to creep at room temperature. A typical creep curve is shown in Figure 2-15.
After an instantaneous initial elastic strain the curve shows a primary creep region where
strains grow fast over a short period of time. The secondary creep stage is characterized by a
constant slope and it extends over a long period of time. This is the region that includes the
period of time in which the structure will be in operation [Barbero (1999)].The tertiary stage
occurs usually for high level of stress. It is characterized by simultaneous accumulation of
creep strain and material damage. In many situations with composites it can be assumed that
fibres experience no creep, but the creep behaviour of the composite as a whole depends on
the load partitioning and constraint [Hull and Clyne (1996)].

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Tertiary
Secondary
Primary
Fracture

Initial Elastic Strain


Time
Figure 2-15: Typical strain history curve during creep deformation

The treatment of axial creep of unidirectional FRP composites is straightforward. The


initial strain in composite can be determined by dividing the applied stress () by the
longitudinal modulus:

0 =

E fLV f + Em (1 V f )

(2-28)

As creep occurs in matrix the entire applied stress is transferred progressively to the fibres
and the stress increases until the fibres carry the total applied load. At this point the strain of
the fibres () and hence of the composite can be determined with:

E fL

(2-29)

The strain approaches this value asymptotically, since the rate of matrix creep decreases as
the stress it carries decreases, and a steady state is never reached [Hull and Clyne (1996)].
Creep coefficients can be determined by linearizing the isostress-creep curve into strain
versus log time axes. When plotted in such a manner most polymeric materials approximate
to a linear relationship [Hollaway (1993)]. The equation for the total strain of the material can
be written as:

(t ) = log t + 0

(2-30)

where (t) is the total strain in the material after time period t, is the initial strain value and
is the creep rate parameter is equal to d(t)/dt.
FRP composites subjected to sustained loads for a long period of time may suddenly fail
after a period of time called endurance limit. This phenomenon, known as creep rupture,
applies to all structural materials. This type of failure is dependent on the fibre type. Carbon
and glass fibres have excellent resistance to creep while most polymeric resins are susceptible
to creep. Therefore the fibre orientation and the fibre volume fractions have a significant
influence on the creep performance of FRP reinforcing bars. The endurance limit decreases as
the ratio of the sustained tensile stress to the short term strength increases. Other factors such
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thaw cycles may also irreversibly decrease the creep rupture endurance time. Creep failure
strength can be defined as the stress causing failure after a specified period of time following
the start of a sustained load. Some experimental work [Budelman and Rostasy (1993)]
indicates that creep rupture does not occur if sustained stress is limited to 60% of the short
term strength. There are an important number of papers published on this subject, from
fundamental to practical aspects, but few data are currently available for endurance times
beyond 100 hours [ACI (2006)]. Until more research is done on this subject design
conservatism is recommended.
Results from a comprehensive experimental programme [Yamaguchi et al. (1997)], carried
out on 6mm FRP bars made of GFRP, AFRP and CFRP, indicated that a linear relationship
exists between creep rupture strength and the logarithm of time, for intervals up to 100h. By
extrapolating the results to 500,000h (57 years) the ratios of stress level at creep rupture to the
short-term strength of the GFRP, AFPR and CFRP reinforcing bars were linearly extrapolated
to be 0.29, 0.47 and 0.93 respectively. Commercial twisted CFRP bars and AFRP bars with an
epoxy matrix were tested at room temperature to determine the endurance time [Ando et al.
(1997)].The estimated retained percentage of short term strength after 50 years was found to
be 79% for CFRP and 66% for AFRP. Creep rupture strength in GFRP bars with vinyl ester
matrix has been investigated at room temperature [Seki et al. (1997)]. A percentage of 55% of
the short-term strength has been determined at an extrapolated 50 year endurance time.
Test results of a comprehensive experimental programme on long-term properties of
AFRP and CFRP bars carried out in various environments at an applied stress equal to 40% of
the initial strength have been reported [Saadatmanesh and Tannous (1999a), (1999b)]. Creep
strains recorded were higher in the AFRP bars than in CFRP bars. The results also indicated a
slight trend towards higher creep strain in larger diameter bars and in bars immersed in acidic
solutions.
A test method to characterize creep rupture of FRP bars was proposed by Japan Society of
Civil Engineers [JSCE-E533 (1995)] and ACI 440K proposed Test Method for Creep of FRP
Bars [ACI (2004)]. These test methods are intended to determine the load-induced tensile
strain at imposed ages for FRP bars under a selected set of controlled environmental
conditions and the corresponding load rate. To avoid creep rupture Canadian Highway and
Bridge Design Code [CAN/CSA (2000)] recommends the use of adjusting factors for material
resistance. Values for safe sustained stresses are also recommended [ACI (2006)], (see
Chapter 3).
2.3.4.2

Relaxation

Stress relaxation is the decay in stress with time when the material is kept under a constant
strain condition [Hollaway (1993)]. The relaxation phenomenon is characterized by the time
dependent decrease in load in a FRP bar held at a given constant temperature with prescribed
initial load applied and held at a given constant strain [Machida (1997)]. A relaxation rate can
be determined by dividing the load measured in the relaxation test by the initial load. It
represents the percentage reduction of load versus its initial value after a specified period of
time, when its initial load is applied and the strain specified. The most common is the
relaxation value after 1 million hours, which is referred to as the million hours relaxation rate.
A test method for long-term relaxation of FRP bars has been adopted by JSCE [JSCE-E534
(1995)] and a ACI sub-committee 440K proposed a similar test method [ACI (2004)].
Experimental work has been carried out on different FRP products and on different load
durations [Ando et al. (1997)]. The FRP tendons used were 12.5mm-diameter CFRP and

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15mm-diameter AFRP. Tests were performed at 20C, 40C and 60C for periods of time
exceeding 3000 hours. Estimated relaxation rates by setting the service life of the structures to
50 years have been calculated: 2.0 to 3.1% for CFRP bars and 18.4 to 23.4% for AFRP bars.
Test results indicate that the higher the temperature, the greater the relaxation rate and this
tendency is stronger with AFRP bars. Relaxation after 1000 hours can be estimated as 1.8 to
2.0% for GFRP tendons, 0.5 to 1.0% for CFRP tendons and 5.0 to 8.0% for AFRP tendons,
while relaxation of GFRP, CFRP and AFRP tendons after 50 years of loading can be
estimated as 4.0 to 14.0%, 2.0 to 10.0% and 11.0 to 25.0%, respectively, depending on the
initial tensile stress [Balazs and Borosnyoi (2001)].
2.3.4.3

Fatigue

Fatigue is defined as the degradation of the integrity of a material as a result of repeated


applications of a large number of loading cycles. The integrity of the material is commonly
measured in terms of mechanical properties such as strength and stiffness. The loss of
strength is directly associated with the failure of the component. Such a failure can occur at a
small fraction of the static strength of material. Advanced polymeric composites exhibit
superior fatigue performance due to their high fatigue limit and resistance to corrosion.
Fatigue damage in FRP composites is complex due to several damage mechanisms occurring
at many locations throughout an element: matrix cracking, fibre breaking, crack coupling,
delamination initiation and delamination growth [Schaff (2001)]. As a result FRP composite
components fail due to a series of interdependent damage events. The fatigue behaviour of
unidirectional FRP composites depends on the constituent behaviour and on the
fibre/interface properties. They have very good fatigue resistance and are essentially linear to
failure. If the composite contains angle-plies damage mechanisms can occur under load and
the stress-strain response becomes non-linear. A unidirectional FRP composite exhibits little
damage until immediately before failure whereas a multidirectional composite shows a
gradual reduction in strength and stiffness values [Hollaway (1993)].
A large amount of data for fatigue behaviour of FRP composites has been generated so
far, mainly relating to aerospace applications. Some general observations on FRP materials
used in construction can be made despite the differences in quality and consistency between
aerospace and commercial-grade FRPs [ACI (2002)]. Special research programmes have also
been carried out in the last two decades to evaluate the fatigue behaviour of FRP bars and
tendons as reinforced and prestressed concrete reinforcement. Individual glass fibres are not
prone to fatigue failure but are susceptible to delayed rupture caused by the stress corrosion
induced by the growth of surface flaws in the presence of moisture [ACI (2006)]. GFRP bars
subjected to cyclic tensile loading may loose approximately 10% in the initial static strength
per decade of logarithmic lifetime [Mandell (1982)]. No clear fatigue limit (the stress level
below which a material can be stressed cyclically for an infinite number of times without
failure) can usually be defined. Models for fatigue behaviour prediction of GFRP composites
under various stress ratios and test frequencies have been recently developed [Epaarachi and
Clausen (2003)]. Environmental factors significantly influence the fatigue behaviour of GFRP
composites due to vulnerability of glass fibres to moisture, alkaline and acidic solutions.
CFRP composites are thought to be the least vulnerable to fatigue failure. The average
downward slope of CFRP data on a plot (S-N) is about 5 to 8% of initial static strength per
decade of logarithmic life. At one million cycles the fatigue strength (residual strength after
being subjected to fatigue) is usually between 50 and 70% of the initial static strength. These
values seem to be relatively unaffected by normal moisture and temperature exposures of
concrete structures unless the fibre/matrix interface is significantly degraded by the
environment. Reports of data to 10 million cycles [Curtis (1989)] indicated a continuous
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downward slope of 5 to 8% in the S-N curve. In the case of CFRP bars encased in concrete
the fatigue strength decreased when the temperature increased from 20C to 40C [ACI
(2006)]. In the same report endurance limit was found to be inversely proportional to loading
frequency. It has also been found out that the endurance limit decreases due to the higher
mean stress or a lower stress ratio (minimum stress/maximum stress), [Saadatmanesh and
Tannous (1999a)]. The fatigue behaviour of AFRP composites subjected to cyclic tensile
loading appears to be similar to GFRP and CFRP materials. Strength degradation per decade
of logarithmic lifetime is about 5 to 6%. No distinct endurance limit is known for AFRP but
for 2 million cycles the fatigue strength reported is 54 to 73% of the initial ultimate strength
[Odagiri et al. (1997)]. The addition of any type of deformations, ribs or wraps induces local
stress concentrations that affect the performance of FRP bars under repeated loading. The
stress concentrations generate multiaxial stresses and increase matrix-dominated damage
mechanisms. Depending on the construction of the FRP bar, additional fibre-dominated
damage mechanisms can also be activated near deformations [ACI (2006)]. A test method to
determine the fatigue characteristics of FRP rods under tensile cyclic loading has been
adopted by JSCE [JSCE-E 535 (1995)] and a similar method has been proposed by ACI 440K
[Benmokrane (2001)].

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Durability: performance and design

3.1

Scope

This chapter examines the long-term durability of FRP composites used as internal
reinforcement and prestressing tendons. It is important to note that the durability issues for
post-tensioned structures are different, since the tendons are, in principle, not directly exposed
to concrete alkalinity. As the FRP technology is constantly developing, the guidance given
here may need to be periodically reviewed and updated to keep pace with new developments
in fibres, resins, advances in manufacturing techniques and composite chemical and physical
properties.

3.2

Introduction

This section discusses the concrete environment and its effect on fibre-reinforced
polymers (FRP) in terms of internal and external aggressive conditions that may affect its
durability. The specific conditions considered are the effects of moisture, chlorides, alkali,
stress, temperature, UV actions, carbonation and acid.
The differences in performance between glass, aramid and carbon fibres and the binding
polymers are identified where possible. However, variability may also arise from bar
manufacturing techniques and differences within generic material performance.
Notwithstanding the above, the potential degradation mechanisms are discussed with
reference to internationally published research and some very general recommendations are
given at the end of each section in an attempt to give some guidance to engineers when
selecting FRP for construction.
Existing international Design Guidelines are also discussed and summarised in this
section. A new method of addressing FRP durability issues, based on more specific
identification of the environments within which FRP would be used [Byars et al. (2003)] is
also introduced and adjusted to consider the material properties and the chemical cinetics.

3.3

State of the art

FRP durability in concrete has predominantly been measured by accelerated test methods
that expose specimens to environments harsher than they would normally encounter in
service. These data are then used to extrapolate estimates of the likely long-term performance.
Mechanical changes in tensile strength, interlaminar shear and bond strength and elastic
modulus, are the best indirect indicators of durability of FRP composite reinforcement. These
may be complemented by studies of physical and microstructural properties using techniques
including TGA (Thermogravimetric Analysis), Light and SE (Scanning Electron)
Microscopy, DMA (Dynamic Mechanical Analysis), DSC (Differential Scanning
Calorimetry), Potentiodynamic Polarisation Scans, Galvanic Coupling test and FTIR (Fourier
Transform Infrared Spectroscopy).
Although considerable progress has been made towards understanding the deterioration
mechanism of FRP reinforcement in concrete, limited design data is available that can be
easily used by design engineers. The lack of international agreement on FRP durability test
methods, variability in FRP production methods, various fibre/polymer types, research
approaches and lack of real-time performance data further complicates the issue. In order to
develop a sound and practical design guideline, a scientific link between research test data and
FRP design properties is proposed in this document.
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There is, therefore, a need to identify and ratify standard test methods, by the international
research community, that could be confidently recommended to civil engineers for use as a
basis upon which to select FRP materials for use as concrete reinforcement and pretensioning
tendons. This document presents substantial work that has been done to date by researchers
as well as the most important design guidelines that can be used as basis for specifying FRP
as reinforcement for concrete structures.
3.3.1

The concrete environment

Concrete contains calcium, sodium and potassium hydroxides creating pore water
solutions with a pH value of about 13. This high alkalinity causes the formation of a
passivating oxide layer on the surface of the steel reinforcement, preventing it from direct
contact with water and oxygen, and consequently, inhibiting corrosion. The most common
depassivating schemes are: carbonation of concrete, penetration of chloride ions and sulphuric
acids leading to corrosion of steel. Steel corrosion leads to a significant increase in the volume
of the bar, causing further concrete and steel deterioration.
Carbonation is the most common durability problem. It occurs at a rate depending on the
concrete W/C ratio, cement type, curing process, humidity and CO2 concentration. Chloride
attack is observed at reinforced concrete structures with a supply of chlorides, such as sea
structures (marine environment), swimming pools, and concrete bridges in cold regions.
Sources of chloride can be wind-borne or direct contact of saltwater or de-icing salts.
Sulphuric acids are mostly of biogenic nature. Concrete structures may also experience
heating/cooling, freezing/thawing, and wet/dry cycles that likewise promote concrete decay
and subsequent steel corrosion.
The factors affecting FRP durability are different from those affecting steel reinforcement.
For instance, FRP does not appear to be significantly affected by chlorides or the process of
carbonation. The following discussion gives guidance on the use of FRPs in structural
elements subjected to a variety of environmental exposure conditions.

3.4

Durability of FRP as internal reinforcement

There are three components within a composite material that influence its long term
properties, as follows:
- the matrix
- the fibres
- the fibre/matrix interface
Each of these elements can be susceptible to attack by various aggressive environments,
yet all three should continue to function fully throughout the design life of the composite. The
matrix is inherently resistant to the aggressive medium (in this instance - strong alkalis),
therefore, it prevents deterioration of the fibres and the interface region by providing a barrier
against the concrete and the external environment. External factors which may influence the
effectiveness of this protection include:
- nature of the environment (pH and presence of aggressive ionic species),
- stress in the composite,
- temperature,
- condition of composite (cut ends, damage etc.), and
- quality of composite (surface finish, voids, resin homogeneity).

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The effectiveness of the resin will depend upon the continuity of its surface. This is why
cut ends of short FRP reinforcement bars and exposed fibres can be problematic from a
durability point of view. Such regions generally provide a transport network throughout the
composite by a wicking mechanism. Here the media can attack the fibre/matrix bond and
continue to progress along the fibre length very rapidly, which then exposes both fibres,
matrix and the resin/fibre interface to direct attack by the surrounding environment. Cut
surfaces of short bars, may need to be sealed to avoid penetration of chemical agents.
The quality of a composite in terms of its durability performance can be expressed by a
number of factors.
- resin wet out (how well the fibres are covered by resin).
- absence of cracks (either surface or through out the cross section).
- absence of voids (generally smaller and well distributed is better).
- degree of cure of resin (if the production process is not well controlled the resin may be
insufficiently cross-linked to provide the designed protection).
- strong fibre/matrix interface (incorrect selection of fibre or matrix type or incorrect
processing can lead to a poor interface prone to environmental attack).
All the above factors need to be addressed to ensure optimum durability of the composite
system. The key area where durability advantages may be achieved by the matrix, is the
selection of a suitable resin which should be:
- inherently able to resist alkali and chloride attack,
- sufficiently tough to resist micro cracking,
- sufficiently impermeable to resist environment penetration to the interior,
- easily processable to minimise quality variations,
- very compatible with fibres to ensure a strong fibre/matrix bond.
3.4.1

Effect of water

The effect of water on the properties of FRP composites has been studied in air at different
relative humidities (% RH) and different temperatures, as well as immersed in water at
different temperatures and stresses [Bank and Gentry (1995), Saadatmanesh and Tannous
(1997), Hayes et al. (1998), Steckel et al. (1998), Verghese et al. (1998) and Dejke (2001)].
Common indicators for evaluating long-term durability performance of FRP under these
conditions are changes in tensile strength and elastic modulus.
Studies indicate that deterioration of polymer resins may occur when water molecules act
as resin plasticizers and disrupt Van-der-Waals bonds in polymer chains [Bank and Gentry
(1995)]. This causes changes in modulus, strength, failure strain, toughness and swelling
stresses leading to polymer matrix cracking and, hydrolysis and fibre-matrix de-bonding
[Hayes et al. (1998)]. The literature indirectly suggests that the last of these is fibredependent, it appears to be more serious at elevated temperatures (>60oC), in line with
increased moisture absorption content at saturation, particularly for polyesters with higher
water diffusivity. However Hayes et al. (1998) found improved mechanical properties with
some FRPs in water.
Summary
With the above mixed findings in mind, in moist conditions above 40oC, the use of FRP as
reinforcement bar in more aggressive conditions than the proposed exposure environment
should be backed by laboratory data on the performance of the specific fibre/polymer
combination. Tables 3.6 and 3.7 in section 3.5.3.5 and 3.5.3.6 also give some additional
conservative guidance for generic FRP materials.
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3.4.2

Effects of chlorides

A potential application of FRP is in saline environments where steel is likely to corrode


without additional protection. Researchers [Saadatmanesh and Tannous (1997), Sasaki et al.
(1997), Sen et al. (1997), Gangarao and Vijay (1997), Chin et al. (1997), Steckel et al. (1998),
Rahman et al. (1998), Toutanji and El-Korchi (1998)] have investigated glass, aramid and
carbon fibre reinforced polymer (GFRP, AFRP and CFRP) products with different surface
veil systems in chloride concentrations up to 4%. Stressed and unstressed bars at ambient
temperatures of up to 70oC and varying RH have been investigated, and in some cases
effective weathering periods of >50 years have been claimed.
As results vary widely, differentiation between chloride attack and degradation due to
moisture diffusion and/or alkali attack of the fibres is difficult. In broad terms, CFRP bars
exposed to combined chloride/moisture attack in concrete show very little degradation with
time, exposure or temperature. AFRP and GFRP elements may show up to 50% loss of
strength and stiffness and stress relaxation of up to 30% .
It needs to be emphasised here that deterioration of FRP may not occur due to chloride
attack but instead due to alkali attack or resin plasticization by water uptake. However, there
are some indications that saline solutions are a slightly more severe environment than fresh
water.
Summary
The data on chloride attack are insufficient to draw definite conclusions. The use of FRP
as reinforcement should be based on knowledge of the performance of a specific bar in a
chloride environment in combination with the effects of moisture and alkali attack on the
selected system.
3.4.3

Effects of alkali

Although concrete traditionally protects steel reinforcement, concrete alkalinity may affect
glass fibres unless suitable polymer resins [Steckel et al. (1998)] are used to protect them.
Resistance is generally thought to be best with carbon, followed by aramid and then glass
fibres [Machida (1993)].
Alkali attack is widely studied, however, the absence of an internationally accepted
durability test method, and the use of various types/combinations of commercially available
fibre/polymer materials and production methods in the FRP market resulted in widely diverse
test data. These test results are rather divergent, resulting in variable implications. In some
investigations, FRP has been embedded in concrete to study changes in the bond properties
[Scheibe and Rostasy (1998)], while the majority of research projects has used simulated
concrete pore solutions containing NaOH2, KOH and saturated Ca(OH)2 with pH of 12-13.5.
Temperature ranges used have been 20-80C [Conrad et al. (1998)].
It is important to note here that there is significant evidence that simulated pore solutions
are much more aggressive than the concrete environment due to increased OH- ion mobility.
Consequently, data of this type should not be interpreted as having a linear relationship with
FRP resistance in the concrete environment and more work needs to be done to develop
robust real-time models from this type of accelerated exposure data.
Mechanical testing
Residual changes in tensile strength, Youngs Modulus and ultimate strain; physical
analysis (TGA, DMTA, DSC, FTIR) [Bank et al. (1998), Chin et al. (1998)] and diffusion
tests [Alsayed and Alhozaimy (1998), Scheibe and Rostasy (1998)] have also been used to
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correlate physical properties with mechanical behaviour. For concrete members, changes in
moment capacity [(Scheibe and Rostasy (1998), Gangarao and Vijay (1997)] and pullout tests
[Sheard et al. (1997), Sen et al. (1999)] have been assessed. Stress rupture life tests (time to
failure tests under different loads) in different environments have been performed by different
investigators [Greenwood (2001), Renaud (2005), Alwis and Burgoyne (2006), Weber
(2005)]. The following factors affecting the rate of alkali attack of FRP have been identified.
- the susceptibility of plain fibres to alkali attack.
- the alkali-diffusivity of the resin, and therefore the level of protection available to the
fibre.
- the quality of the fibre-resin bond, through which alkali may permeate and attack the
fibre.
- the temperature, which affects reaction rates and rates of diffusion.
- the concentration of alkali (affected by cement type and concrete mix).
- alkali ion mobility (affected by degree of saturation and the pore volume).
Due to commercial sensitivities, some researchers tend not to reveal technical details on
fibres and polymers properties, and this makes interpretation of test data and robust
conclusion difficult. In addition, no sound models yet exist for the conversion of accelerated
results into reliable real-time data. The following discussion of alkali attack should be read
with these factors in mind. In general two different approaches are adopted by researchers.
According to the first approach the durability test should cover the whole service life.
Residual properties are, in general, determined after conditioning the composite at elevated
temperatures to accelerate ageing.
According to the second approach stress rupture life tests are performed in concrete or
simulated concrete pore solutions under different stress levels. Long term strength is then
extrapolated from these results.
Exposure to alkaline solution fibres
A study by Bank et al. (1998) showed that immersed E-glass/vinyl ester rods in
ammonium hydroxide (NH4OH) solution (30%) at 23C (224 days) exhibited 12% tensile
strength loss, while TGA analysis showed deterioration at the matrix-fibre interface. Steckel
et al. (1998) immersed CFRP and GFRP systems in CaCO3 solution (pH 9.5) at 23oC (125
days). The systems were unaffected except for a 10% reduction in elastic modulus for one
GFRP system and a 30% reduction in short beam shear strength.
Combined freeze-thaw/alkali-exposure testing by Gangarao and Vijay (1997) generated 749% tensile strength loss and 3-31% drop in elastic modulus for E-glass GFRP systems (with
vinyl ester or polyester resins). Saadatmanesh and Tannous (1997) immersed CFRP, AFRP
and GFRP specimens in saturated Ca(OH)2 solution at 25oC and 60oC and showed that Fick's
Law could predict FRP tensile strength losses.
A summary of strength loss results for stressed and unstressed bars in alkaline
environment is given in Table 3.1.
Exposure to alkaline solution resins
Chin et al (1998) immersed polymeric resins in alkali at ambient and elevated
temperatures and tested the specimens for tensile strength and using DMTA, DSC, TGA and
FTIR. The results showed that vinyl ester polymers had a higher resistance than iso-polyester
(80% and 40% tensile strength remaining respectively). Bakis et al. (1998) tested three
different GFRP rods by 28-days immersion in a saturated solution of Ca(OH)2 at 80oC. The
100% vinyl ester rods were less affected than vinyl ester/polyester blended matrixes.

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Table 3-1: Strength loss for stressed and unstressed bars in alkaline environment.
Author

Material

Tannous et al.
(1998)

AFRP
AFRP
CFRP
CFRP
CFRP
CFRP
GFRP
GFRP
CFRP
GFRP
AFRP
AGFRP
GFRP

Porter (1997)
Uomoto (1997)
Allmusallam
Al-Salloum
(2005)

Alsayed
Alhozaimy
(1998)
Micelli, Myers,
Nanni (2001)

Benmokrane
et al.
(2005)

GFRP
GFRP
GFRP
GFRP
GFRP
GFRP
GFRP
GFRP
CFRP
CFRP
CFRP
CFRP
GFRP

Resin

pH

Env.

Temp.

Duration

12
12
12
12
12
12
12,513

sat.
Ca(OH)2

60C
25C
60C
25C
60C
25C
60C
60C
60C
40C
40C
40C
40C
40C
40C
40C
40C
40C
Outdoor
60C
60C
60C
60C
60C
60C
60C
60C
64C

1a
1a
1a
1a
1a
1a
3m
3m
3m
4m
4m
4m
4m
8m
16m
4m
8m
16m
4m
4m
4m
4m
21d
42d
21d
42d
21d
42d
21d
42d
2m

20C

14m

NaOH
VE

>13

VE+UP
VE+UP
12,6

Cement
paste
1%Na2O
in sea
water
cement
paste
20g/l
NaOH
0,16%
Ca(OH)2
+1%
NaOH
+ 1,4%
KOH

Stress
while
ageing

Strength
loss
6,4%
4,3%
0%
0%
0%
0%
55%
73%
0%

0
0
0
20-25%
20-25%
20-25%

2.1%
15.6%
19.7%
29.4%
39%
47.9%
20%
0%
30%
0%
0%
0%
30%
41%
1%
8%
0%
0%
12%

GFRP

VE: d=
9,5mm
9,5mm

GFRP

12,7mm

57C

4m

GFRP

16mm

55C

1m

2%

GFRP

16mm

61C

2m

16%

Rahman (1998)

GFRP
CFRP

VE
VE

70C

45d
370d

30%
50%

70%

Arockiasamy et
al. (1998)
Scheibe
Rostasy

CFRP

9m

65%

0%

20C
20C

3308h
714h

75%
75%

25%
25%

Weber
(2004)

GFRP
GFRP
GFRP

60C
60C
60C

2000h
2000h
2000h

20%
25%
30%

<5%
<5%
<5%

36

12,8

ACI

58g/l
NaOH
13-14

AFRP
AFRP
VE
VE
VE

13,7

Air
0,4m
KOH
sat.
Ca(OH)2
NaOH
KOH

19-29%
19-29%
19-29%
19-29%
19-29%

Claim

50a

14a
28a
14a
28a
14a
28a
14a
28a

15%
17%

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Alkali exposure under accelerated conditions (stressed and or elevated temperature)


In real concrete structures, most reinforcement is stressed due to both sustained and live
load actions. The influence of stress and alkali has been studied by several researchers.
Gangarao and Vijay (1997) found strength reductions (1-76%) for stressed GFRP bars in
alkaline solution of pH 13 for 201 days. Vinyl ester resin showed the best resistance. Sheard
et al. (1997) reported reduced interlaminar shear strength for some GFRP and CFRP systems
in pH 11.5-13.5 solutions, but others were almost unaffected. In a related study, Clarke and
Sheard (1998) showed that CFRP specimens performed less well than GFRP after 6 months
exposure in accelerated conditions (pH 12.5, 5% ultimate bending stress at 38oC).
Benmokrane et al. (1998) also found reduced strengths in stressed alkali exposure when
evaluating the influence of resin type and manufacturing processes and concluded that vinyl
ester is the most suitable polymer for GFRP bars.
Porter et al. (1997) immersed embedded E-glass/vinyl ester rods in 60oC water and 60oC
alkali (pH 12). In pullout tests the rods were unaffected, possibly because thick concrete cover
protected the bars from full exposure. Pantuso et al. (1998) embedded GFRP bars in concrete
and subjected them to wetting/drying cycles in water for 60 days. Tensile strength decreased
by up to 21% compared to 7% for naked rods immersed in a water bath. To simulate a tidal
zone, CFRP specimens in concrete were subjected to wetting/drying cycles for 18 months at
20-60oC by Sen et al. (1998). The bond strength increased due to swelling of the FRP bars,
but flexural tests on reinforced beam specimens did not show similar improvement. Sheard et
al. (1997) also reported no mechanical or physical deterioration in GFRP or CFRP after 12
months in various alkaline solutions at 20-38oC. Porter et al. (1997) studied prestressed beams
(0.4 ultimate tensile strength) immersed in highly alkali solutions and reported that
GFRP/polyester resin tendons lost their pre-stressing force whilst CFRP, also made with
polyester resin, appeared unaffected. Adimi et al. (1998) studied tension-tension fatigue of
GFRP and CFRP reinforcement in varying alkalinity and reported only negligible effects.
An AFRP durability study by Scheibe and Rostasy (1998) tested prestressed (to 0.7-0.85
of ultimate tensile strength) slabs, pre-cracked and stored for 2 years. The moment capacity
was unchanged. In other study, Gangarao and Vijay (1997) immersed GFRP-reinforced
concrete beams in salt water for 240 days and showed a reduced moment capacity of 18%,
attributed to alkali-induced bond deterioration. Tomosawa and Nakatsuji (1997) exposed
reinforced beams on the Japanese coast for two years and found no flexural strength reduction
for AFRP, CFRP or GFRP bars but a small reduction for prestressed beams with AFRP and
CFRP tendons. Field exposure tests using GFRP and CFRP pullout specimens by Sheard et
al. (1997) showed a slight increase in pullout strength after 12 months, which was attributed
to increased concrete strength. Similar results were found by Sen et al. (1999) for CFRP
epoxy rod specimens in an outdoor environment for 18 months. In this case the increase was
ascribed to swelling of the CFRP material.
Table 3.2 gives a summary of results from Chalmers University for tensile strength
reductions obtained for GFRP bars in alkaline solutions, concrete and water at 60oC and 20oC
[Dejke (2001)].
Table 3-2: Effect of Temperature on GFRP exposed to alkali, concrete and water

Exposure
Condition
Alkali
Concrete
Water
All (average)

Temp
(oC)
60
60
60
20

% of original tensile strength


Age at Test (days)
28
90
180
365
82
55
37
32
91
80
57
51
93
84
75
73
95
92
90
88

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The results presented in Table 3.2 show that the most aggressive environments in
descending order are alkali 60oC, concrete 60oC, and then water 60oC. The results obtained
for the alkali, concrete and water at 20oC were similar and an average of these conditions is
shown in the table (around 20% deterioration after 18 months). The hotter environments
demonstrate the significant effects of temperature on GFRP degradation and show that extra,
carefully evaluated safety factors should be used when bars are subjected to elevated
temperatures. From these results Dejke (2001) determined a model for the strength retention
as a function of time for different corrosion intensities (see Fig. 3-1).

100

Tensile strength retention


(% of original)

90
80
70

90%
70%
50%
30%

60
50
40
30
20
10
0
0

20

40

60

80

100

120

Time (years)

Figure 3-1: Shape of theoretical strength retention curves. Examples shown relate to retained strengths of 90%,
70%, 50% and 30% after 100 years [Dejke (2001)]

A durability study conducted in Canada under the umbrella of the ISIS Network [Mufti et al.
(2005), Mufti et al. (2007)] has shown that GFRPs have excellent performance in concrete
structures. As part of this study, five bridge decks across Canada, from British Columbia to
Nova Scotia, were closely monitored for eight years under service conditions. Test results of
core samples taken from these five structures revealed that the alkaline environment
developed in these concrete bridge decks did not have any detrimental effect on the GFRP
reinforcement. The extremely positive results obtained from this study led to the publication
of an updated version of the Canadian Highway Bridge Design code that permits the use of
FRPs for strengthening and reinforcement on both new and rehabilitated bridges and concrete
structures.
A new approach to FRP durability specifications [Byars et al. (2001), Weber (2006a)],
which takes temperature, moisture and time effects into account, and therefore allows
environment-specific durability design of FRP to be applied to the structural design process,
is discussed later in this section.
Summary
Performance of FRP reinforcement and pretensioning tendons in alkali environment varies
with the materials (fibres and resins) used and with the manufacturing processes. Literature
suggests that FRP deteriorates much faster in alkaline solution than in concrete, which is
probably due to the higher mobility of the OH- ions. Specific observations are given below.
- extensive degradation has been evidenced in GFRP rods after exposure to alkaline
solutions at high temperature. Bars embedded in concrete at various temperatures and with
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good fibre-resin combinations show only limited degradation, but this increases with
temperature and stress level.
- alkalis affect AFRP bars and tendons less than GFRP, but a combination of alkali solution
and high tensile stress (in the order of 0.75 ultimate tensile strength) may damage AFRP
bars significantly.
- there is no significant alkali attack problem for CFRP with a proper fibre-resin system.
- vinyl esters have much better alkali resistance than polyester resins.

3.4.4

Effect of sustained stress (stress rupture)

FRP subjected to sustained tensile stresses lower than ultimate short-term stress may fail
by stress rupture, also referred to as creep rupture or static fatigue. For GFRP and AFRP,
stress-rupture can take place at relatively low stress, while CFRP has a better resistance. A
straight line describes the relationship between the logarithm of the sustained load and the
logarithm of time to failure. Thus, data obtained for high stresses may be extrapolated to
determine the theoretical stress levels that correspond to the required service-life (say 100
years).
The stress-rupture mechanism is not, however, exclusively stress-related. Researchers
have reported that the surrounding environmental conditions affect the time to failure. A dry
glass fibre can resist 70% of its ultimate strength for 100 years, a fibre in water can resist only
50% of its ultimate strength for the same time, while the contact to acids or alkalis can lead to
a sudden failure at even lower stress values (Maxwell et al. 2005). Some researchers have
made predictions of the time to stress-rupture for fibres and fibre composites. For E-glass
fibre strands the maximum sustained stress levels corresponding to 120 years were reported to
be 30% and 25% of the original short-term strength for stress-rupture tests in air and water
respectively (Proctor et al. 1967). Scheibe and Rostasy (1997) reported that the theoretical
stress-rupture strength for a GFRP bar (Polystal) in dry air (20C, 65% RH) was
approximately 70% of the original ultimate short-term strength after 106 hours (114 years).
Greenwood (2001) extrapolated to 45% of the original short term strength for pultruded
profiles in air. For saltwater and cement extract, he extrapolated lower values.
According to Yamaguchi et al. (1997) the critical stresses due to stress-rupture are 0.3,
0.47 and 0.91 for GFRP, AFRP and CFRP, respectively, after 50 years. For the same period
of time, Ando et al (1997) found the critical stresses to be 0.66 (AFRP) and 0.79 (CFRP),
Alwis and Burgoyne (2006) found a stress limit of 0.45 for AFRP.
Table 3-3: Extrapolated Load (% ultimate) from Stress-Rupture Regression
Analysis at 50 years according to Greenwood (2001)
Environment
Air at 23o C
Salt Water at 23o C
Cement Extract at 23o C
Acid at 23o C
Cement Extract at 60o C
Acid at 60o C

Traditional E-glass
44.6
27.1
14.8
0.9
8.2

Boron-free E-glass
45.8
36.8
24.8
12.1
18.8
9.5

Summary
Using the most conservative results reported in the literature, stress-limits for a service-life
of 50 years are suggested (Table 3-3), which should be applied to the design value ffd. It
should be noted that where engineers are confident that a particular selected FRP will perform
better in long-term loading than the worst-case values suggested. A decision to use less
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conservative values, based on test results, can be made. This is the case for some existing
GFRP and AFRP materials and, as quality of fibres, polymers and production techniques
improves, this approach is likely to become more common in the future. This confirms the
need for internationally agreed test methods to determine stress-rupture characteristics, which
can be used to characterise the performance of the material. In recognition of potential
material variation, the philosophy of stress-rupture classes for GFRP and AFRP bars and
tendons has also been introduced. The stress limits for these have not been defined at this
time, but it is envisaged that as FRP bar classification methods develop, the choice of
appropriate values for these will become clear.
3.4.5

Ultraviolet radiation

Ultraviolet rays (UV) affect polymeric materials [Bank and Gentry (1995)]. Although FRP
reinforcing bars embedded in concrete are not exposed to UV while in service, the UV rays
may cause degradation during storage or if FRP is used as external reinforcement. Exposure
tests have been performed in the laboratory [Kato et al. (1997)] and under field conditions
[Tomosawa and Nakatsuji (1997)]. The tensile strength of aged and virgin samples was
measured and compared to evaluate degradation. Kato et al. (1997) examined the effect of the
UV rays on AFRP, CFRP and GFRP rods exposed to a high-UV intensity laboratory
environment for 250, 750 and 1250 wetting/drying cycles, with UV-intensity of
0.2MJ/m2/hour and temperature of 26C. In addition, fibres were also tested after UV
exposure of up to 1,000 hours. AFRP rods showed around 13% reduction in tensile strength
after 2500 hours exposure, GFRP rods 8% after 500 hours (no reduction thereafter) and CFRP
rods showed no reduction. The pattern was almost identical for the fibre testing.
Summary
For embedded FRP reinforcement, UV-attack poses no problems, but rods and tendons
should be protected against direct sunlight whilst in storage. All external FRP reinforcements,
e.g. bonded strip/sheets, bars, and tendons should be protected from sunlight using proprietary
protection systems.
3.4.6

Thermal actions

Deterioration by thermal action may occur in FRP when constituents have different
coefficients of longitudinal and transverse thermal expansion, which is particularly important
for good bond. Sen and Shahawy (1999) studied the effects of diurnal/seasonal temperature
change on the durability of 12 pre-cracked piles pretensioned with CFRP, designed to fail by
rupture of the prestressing tendons. These were stored in tanks and subjected to
wetting/drying and temperature cycles (20-60C). The durability was assessed over three
years by periodic flexural tests. The results of these tests indicated that the performance of the
piles was largely unaffected, but both bond degradation and reductions in ultimate load
capacity were observed for some specimens in which the pre-exposure pre-cracking damage
was greatest. Bank, Puterman et al. (1998) showed ageing of bond specimen at 80C in water
leads to degradation of the material and a decrease in residual bond strength. Vinyl esters
showed less degradation than polyester. Katz, Berman et al. 1999 performed bond tests at
elevated temperatures. All FRP rebars showed a clear decrease of bond strength depending on
TG of the used resin. Around 90% of the bond strength is lost at 250C for all tested rebars.

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Summary
The literature suggests that temperatures over 60C may present significant problems for
FRP, but further research is needed to make robust conclusions and recommendations.
3.4.7

Carbonation

A limited amount of research work on the effect of carbonated concrete on FRP was
carried out as part of the EUROCRETE project [Sheard et al. (1997)], which studied a wide
range of FRP durability aspects. The data obtained was more variable than that for other
accelerated conditions; however no deterioration due to carbonation was observed.
Summary
It is unlikely that carbonation promotes deterioration of FRP bars in concrete. On the
contrary, the associated reduction in pH is likely to increase the service life and improve the
durability of FRP reinforced concrete since it reduces the concrete pore-water alkali that
attacks some fibres and polymers.
3.4.8

Acid attack

There is little published data on the effects of acid attack on FRP. Indeed, it is likely that
in acid conditions, deterioration of concrete would be of greater concern. There is clearly a
need to investigate this issue and produce some guidance for circumstances when acid
resistant cement, such as high-alumina cement, is used in conjunction with FRP
reinforcement.
3.4.9

Concluding remarks

The previous sections discussed durability-related aspects of FRP embedded in concrete


and the approaches taken by various researchers. It is clear that whilst broad conclusions can
be drawn about the relative performances of FRP materials, these cannot be applied strictly in
all cases, due to variations in the materials and manufacturing processes used to produce FRP.
It is also clear that a unified design approach to FRP durability issues has to be developed
to enable the international construction community to have more confidence in predictions of
FRP service life in aggressive environments. The biggest problem is the perception that glass
is sensitive to alkali attack and that the concrete environment is therefore intrinsically
aggressive. Research has shown that the concrete environment is, however, not as aggressive
as alkaline solutions and that alkali resistance can be significantly improved by the selection
of appropriately treated glass fibres, suitable resins and better production techniques.

3.5

Designing for durability

In the first part of this section, the existing design codes and guidelines in Japan, Canada,
USA, GB and Norway are summarized.
In section 3.5.2 a simplified durability approach based on accelerated ageing under load
and residual strength testing is presented. In this form, the approach conforms to the
international semiprobabilistic safety concept.
In section 3.5.3 a new integral approach to durability specification for FRP in concrete,
emerging from the work of the fib Task Group 9.3 [Byars et al. (2000), (2001), (2003), Weber
(2006a)] is presented. This approach has been elaborated to take specific aggressive

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environments into account in a similar way to that used by engineers for steel-reinforced
concrete design. The philosophy identifies the main aggressive situations and introduces a
series of stress reduction factors to account for potential deterioration of FRP in these
environments. The factors allow for the relative resistance of generic FRP types to aggressive
environments and the desired design life of the structure. This approach is therefore
considerably more flexible and less conservative than existing methodologies contained in
international design codes.
3.5.1

Existing codes and guidelines

Currently, design guides exist in Japan, Canada, the USA and the UK. In Norway,
provisional design recommendations have been developed. Table 3-4 summarises the
durability-related strength reductions or stress limiting factors assumed for non pre-stressed
FRP reinforcement in the various guidelines.
The main point to note here is that these guidelines have a single environmental effect
factor for each FRP material depending on its fibre type, only. However, the main
environmental effects identified in the literature are moisture, alkali, temperature and time.
Provided that the in service exposure conditions are known, it should be possible to refine the
environmental effect factors to produce a more economic and conservative results. This is the
approach that has been taken in the following section, which presents a new methodology for
FRP durability specification, by utilising the best parts of existing codes and introducing new
classes of exposure, appropriate to common exposure environments.
Table 3-4: Reduction factors used in existing guidelines to take account of tensile strength reduction
due to environmental actions and sustained stress
Factor
Reduction for
environmental
deterioration
(ULS)

ACI 440.1R-06
CE
environmental
reduction factor
wet/dry
GFRP: 0.70-0.80
AFRP: 0.80-0.90
CFRP: 0.90-1.00

Reduction for
sustained stress
(ULS)

Pending

Total strength
reduction for
environmental
actions (SLS)

Including
(0,55...0,65)
GFRP: 0.39-0.52
AFRP: 0.44-0.59
CFRP: 0.50-0,65

Stress limits for


permanent load
(SLS)

42

GFRP: 0.14-0.16
AFRP: 0.24-0.27
CFRP: 0.44-0.50

NS3473
env
"conversion
factor"

CSA-S806-02
CHBDC-2006
FRP
"resistance
factor"

JSCE
/fm
"material factor"

GFRP: 0.50
AFRP: 0.90
CFRP: 1.00

GFRP: 0.50
AFRP: 0.60
CFRP: 0.75

GFRP: 0.77
AFRP: 0.87
CFRP: 0.87

lt "conversion
factor"
GFRP: 0.8-1.0
AFRP: 0.7-1.0
CFRP: 0.9-1.0

IStructE
/m
"material factor"

GFRP: 0.30
AFRP: 0.50
CFRP: 0.60

GFRP: 0.40-0.50
AFRP: 0.63-0.90
CFRP: 0.90-1.00

FSLS: Max Stress


at service load
GFRP: 0.25
AFRP: 0.35
CFRP: 0.65

Reduction
for
modulus
Stress limits not
specified

Pre/Post tension:
GFRP: 0.25-0.30
AFRP: 0.35-0.40
CFRP: 0.65-0.70

GFRP: 0.77
AFRP: 0.87
CFRP: 0.87
0.8 "creep
failure strength"
not more than
0.7
GFRP: 0.7
AFRP: 0.7
CFRP: 0.7

GFRP: 0.30
AFRP: 0.50
CFRP: 0.60

Stress limits not


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3.5.2

Design value of tensile strength based on residual strength tests: simplified


approach

Researchers around the world have tested an extensive amount of rebars primarily under
accelerated environmental conditions and determined their residual properties. This kind of
testing is specified in a variety of defined test setups in test guidelines (ACI 2004) and the
drafts of international testing standards (ISO 2003). But the design engineers still have to
decide what conditions to choose and how to use the residual strength, since no threshold is
specified in these guidelines. A kind of threshold is specified in the informative annex of the
Canadian Standard CAN/CSA 806. In Annex O of the CSA 806 it is defined that specimens
should be loaded to a level equal to 1.1 times the design allowable strength while ageing in
an artificial concrete pore solution of pH 12.7, or in concrete.
To meet the international safety concept in this proposal, the test load is specified as the
design load, meaning the specimen is stressed during the testing time under factored loads.
The testing time is specified to be 2000h at a temperature of 60C, to represent the life cycle
of the structures. For the concrete a high alkaline cement (Na2O content = 1%) is used with a
water cement ratio higher than 0,45 leading to the highest possible pH value. During testing
the concrete is water saturated and cracked leading to additional realistic bond stresses. As an
alternative an artificial pore solution with the same pH value can be used as test medium.
After conditioning in the above environment, the rebar is tested for residual strength. The
design value of tensile strength should be taken as the minimum of the sustained stress during
testing and the characteristic value of the residual tensile strength divided by the material
factor, f :
ffd = min (fTest , ffk res / f )

(3-1)

This simple approach leads to conservative results under normal conditions. This means
normal indoor climate or outdoor climate with mean annual temperatures around 10C. For
higher temperatures or a climate with more extreme temperature variations, longer
conditioning times are recommended.
If a more economic design is desired, or conditions are different from these normal
conditions, a new approach which is adapted to the special conditions for each particular
application, which takes all the environmental influences into account, has to be chosen.
3.5.3

Refined approach for durability specification for FRP

The existing approaches for durability specification are very general in nature and do not
take into account all the parameters that literature has identified as being significant to FRP
durability in concrete. The new approach addresses these issues and conservatively quantifies
the impact of various aggressive environments on FRP design life.
3.5.3.1

The FRP design strength equation

It is proposed that FRP is designed for durability on the basis of a simple design strength
equation that multiples the characteristic tensile strength by a factor which is linked to various
environmental parameters that increase or decrease the factored tensile strength depending on
the severity of the exposure environment, as follows:
ffd = ffk0 /(env,t f )

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3.5.3.2

The environmental strength reduction factor (env,t)

The environmental tensile strength reduction factor env,t, is the ratio between the
characteristic short term strength and the characteristic long term strength, i.e. the creep
rupture stress limit. It can be determined accurately if the 1000h strength ffk1000h and the
standard reduction per logarithmic decade R10 is known, (see also Fig. 3-2). There is a shift of
about three log decades from 1000h to 880,000h. The following power equation can be used
[DIN 1990].
env,t = ffk1000h/ffk0 / ((100 R10)/100)

(3-3)

For normal conditions n equals 3. If ffk1000h is not known, an estimation using the above
approach can be used. Therefore the 1000h value is determined from short term data, creep
rupture limits [ACI (2006)] and literature data on strength retention. The following equation is
recommended [Weber (2006a)] (see also 3.5.3.4).
env,t = 1 / ((100 R10)/100) n+2

(3-4)

Strength retention based on stress rupture tests in wet Portland cement mortar

Sustained Stress / Short Term Strength

1,0

env,B
env,A

FRP B
FRP A
1000h
strength
ffk1000h

R10
1 decade
creep rupture
stress limit for
100 years

Testable Time Section

0,1
100

1000

Extrapolation Section
10000

100000

100 years

1000000

Figure 3-2: Environmental strength reduction factor and 1000h strength for two different GFRP materials with
different durability

Where R10 is the standard reduction of tensile strength in percent per decade (logarithmic
decade) due to environmental influence. The exponent n (Eq. 3.5) is the sum of three
influence terms: nmo is the term for moisture condition (Table 3-6), nT is the term for
temperature (Table 3-7), nSL is the term for desired service-life (Table 3-8) [DIN 53768
(1990), Weber (2006a)] and nd is the term for diameter correction (Table 3.9).
n = nmo + nT + nSL+nd

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The four influence terms for moisture, temperature, service life and diameter are defined in
the following sections.
Table 3-5 shows standard reduction factors for tensile strength expected after 100 years in
concrete under standard exposure conditions, which are defined as an outdoor climate
(not constantly in contact with water) with an annual average temperature of 5 to 15C.
Suggested values of env,t for GFRP, AFRP and CFRP are also shown inverse to represent
fractions of the original tensile strength. For example, the expected tensile load where 5% of
all CFRP rebars fail after 100 years in standard conditions is around 77% of the original
tensile strength, while the limit values for AFRP and GFRP are 44% and 24%.
Table 3-5 also shows that ACI 440.1 creep rupture limits recalculated to characteristic
values according to the international safety concept, lead to the same values for sustained
loads for standard materials as for the new approach. The table also allows for different
classes of products to be specified for each material, if enough long term data is available.
Table 3-5: Standard environmental strength reductions for 100 years, moist environment and
10C MAT, ACI values(left) are compared to the new approach (right)

Environmental standard reduction of tensile strength env,t


ACI creep
stress under
char.
rupture
factored loads
strength
limit
(g=v) =1,425
100a
(SLS)
for this limit
=1,25
(ULS)
(ULS)
GFRP class 3
0,14
0,20
0,25
GFRP class 2
GFRP class 1
AFRP class 2
0,24
0,34
0,43
AFRP class 1
CFRP class 2
0,44
0,63
0,78
CFRP class 1
-

3.5.3.3

R10
from
literature
(%)

env,t

1/env,t

25
TBD
TBD
15
TBD
5
TBD

4,16
TBD
TBD
2,25
TBD
1,29
TBD

0,24
TBD
TBD
0,44
TBD
0,77
TBD

Standard reduction of tensile strength per decade due to environmental


influence (R10)

The environmental influence parameter, R10, is the slope of the load vs. time to failure line
in double logarithmic scale. A constant slope means the same percentage of strength loss for
the same ratio of time. Several tests at room temperature and elevated temperatures show the
linear behaviour in a double logarithmic scale [Alwis and Burgoyne (2006), Kato, Uomoto et
al. (1997), Greenwood (2001), Weber (2006, 2006a)]. In this case the reduction per decade
(tenfold time (log(10) =1)) is chosen to get a concise value. This kind of representation is well
known for dynamic fatigue. As the other name static fatigue for creep rupture failure
indicates, these are related processes. For every group of materials under similar conditions
this value is nearly constant, [Renaud 2001, Weber 2006]. Figure 3.3 shows two different
materials with different durability but similar slope. For materials with known R10 value an
extrapolation from long term values to service life is simple [DIN 53769]. For materials with
unknown R10 value, an estimate can be performed based on literature data for this material
group.

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Figure 3-3: Experimental strength retention curves in log/log scale (left E-glass, right ECR-glass)

3.5.3.4

1000h endurance strength (ffk1000h)

The endurance strength is the characteristic value of the load which the composite rebar
can resist after exposure to a practical test environment for 1000h. This value can be
expressed as a percentage of the tensile strength or as absolute value. As can be seen in fig.33, different materials of the same group show similar short term values as well as similar
slopes of the strength retention curves. Hence, durability can only be determined with some
confidence if some long term test data are determined. The longer the duration of the test the
more precision can be given to the extrapolation. 1000h is a good compromise for these
materials. During this period the diffusion processes are stabilized and on the other hand, the
proposed tests can be completed within a few months. From this point a straight line for three
decades to 1 million hours is extrapolated.
If no value exists for the 1000h endurance strength, an estimation can be made for this value
by the same approach as for equation 3-4:
ffk1000h = ffk [(100 R10)/100] 2

(3-6)

This means that a standard GFRP bar should be able to sustain 56% of its tensile strength
for 1000h in wet concrete at room temperature. The corresponding values for AFRP and
CFRP are 72% and 90% (see Table 3.5). Higher values can be shown through testing. The
long term design strength can be determined by using equation 3-7.
ffkd = ffk1000h [(100 R10)/100] n/f

3.5.3.5

(3-7)

Term for moisture condition (nmo)

It is known that the rate of deterioration of FRP depends to a large extent on the moisture
condition of the environment. For example, faster deterioration in tensile strength occurs for
FRP bars immersed directly in simulated concrete pore solution and similar observations have
been made when comparing deterioration of bars embedded in wet concrete with that in dry
concrete [Scheibe and Rostasy (1998)].
In the ACI design guidelines [American Concrete Institute (2006)] two climate classes are
suggested: Enclosed Conditioned Space (roughly Dry conditions) and Unenclosed or
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Unconditioned Space (roughly, Moist conditions), with strength reductions of 20% and
30% for dry - and moist respectively for GFRP. However, there is probably a more
significant difference between moisture-saturated concrete and normal outdoor concrete in
regions with temperate climate that have a relative humidity of approximately 80%. In line
with this, 3 exposition (moisture) classes are proposed [Byars (2001)]:
1) Dry:

Indoor conditions, protected from rain with an average relative humidity of


approximately 50%. (XC1 dry)
2) Moist:
Outdoor conditions, subjected to rain but not constantly in contact with water
with an average relative humidity of approximately 80%. ( XC3, XD1, XD3,
XS1, XS3)
3) Saturated: Constantly in contact with water with average relative humidity close to 100%.
(XC2, XC4, XD2, XS2)
A correction term nmo with relative values of -1 for Indoor climate, 0 for Outdoor
climate, and 1 for Moisture saturated concrete, is suggested, as seen in Table 3.6.
Table 3-6: Correction term for moisture condition in concrete members

Correction term for moisture in concrete, nmo


Dry
Moist
(RH app. 50%) (concrete not constantly in contact
with water, RH app. 80%)
-1
0
3.5.3.6

Moisture saturated
(concrete constantly in contact
with water, RH app. 100%)
1

Term for temperature (nT)

As a rule of thumb, increasing the temperature by 10C doubles the rate of a chemical
reaction [Perez-Bendito and Silva (1988)], so if a linear relationship between the strength
reduction and the logarithm of time is assumed (see Figure 3.4), a change in strength
reduction can be expected for a temperature increase or decrease by 10C, similar to twice the
time or half the time, respectively. In stress corrosion tests, the reduction factor for 10C was
observed to be slightly higher, with values between 2,25 and 2,85 [Renaud (2002), Weber
(2005)]. With this background, to be on the safe side a logarithm of 0,5 instead of 0,3 is
proposed. In line with this, 4 temperature classes are suggested with ranges of approximately
10C, (see Table 3.7). If seasonal temperature variations are high (continental climate) the
higher value is recommended.
Table 3-7: Term for mean annual temperature (MAT)

Term for mean annual temperature, nT


MAT < 5C 5C < MAT < 15C 15C < MAT < 25C 25C < MAT < 35C
-0,5
0
0,5
1

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Stress rupture calculated for different conditions for a standard class 3 GFRP
1,0
Sustained Stress / Short Term Strength

FRP A (dry, 10C MAT)

FRP A normal (moist, 10C MAT)


shift due to temperature

shift due to condition

FRP A (moist, 20C MAT)

creep rupture
stress limit for
100 years
100 years

0,1
1000

10000

100000

1000000

time to failure in h

Figure 3-4: Effect of the parameter humidity and temperature on stress rupture curves. (Weber 2006a)

3.5.3.7

Term for service-life, nSL

As the standard reduction for tensile strength, env,t is intended for a service-life of 100
years, a lower strength reduction may be used if the required service-life is, for example, only
10 years. If again, a linear relationship between strength reduction and the logarithm of time
is assumed, the strength reduction env,t may be recalculated by the term nSL (Table 3.8).
Table 3-8: Term for Desired Service-Life, nSL

Term for specified service life, nSL


Servicelife =1 year Service-life = 10 years Service-life = 50 years Service-life = 100 years
1
2
2,7
3
3.5.3.8

Correction term for tested diameter nd

As all the deterioration processes are a function of temperature, time and humidity the
Fickian diffusion law can be applied. With this law the diameter has an influence on the time
to failure. Under constant conditions, a fourth of the time to failure is observed for half the
diameter. If a diameter smaller than the one tested is used, a correction term has to be used.
For larger diameter no compensation is recommended, because of the size effect of strength.
The values in brackets are calculated on the basis of the diffusion law.
Table 3-9: Diameter correction

Diameter correction factor, nd


Bigger than tested Same as tested 75% of tested 50% of tested
0
0
0,5 (0,3)
1(0,6)

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3.5.3.9

Material factor f

As the environmental factor is dependent on the material and exterior conditions, the
material factor takes into account the scattering of the strength values and the failure mode. In
some european design guides [CUR (2003), BV(2002), EN 13706(2002)], pultruded
profiles material factors for FRP are proposed to be in the range between the value used for
steel and that used for concrete. Because there is no big difference between the FRP materials
in production, as well as in failure modes the material factor is proposed to be 1,25 (Table 310).
Table 3-10: Material Factor without environmental influence

MATERIAL FACTOR, f
GFRP AFRP CFRP
1,25
1,25
1,25
See Chapter 8 for further information in partial material safety factors and design philosophy
issues.
3.5.3.10

Environmental design examples

To see the effects of the different terms for the environmental influence, some practical
examples are given. In each row of Table 3.11 the strength (ffk0 and if known ffk1000h), the
standard strength reduction per decade R10 and the different influence terms (nmo, nT and nSL)
are stated. From these values env,t and 1/env,t are calculated. By using a material factor in the
last column the design value is determined.
In the first four rows 4 different prestressing materials are compared for a post-tensioning
application in a dry cold environment (dry, 10C, 100 years). The design value is highest for
the material with the slowest deterioration (smallest R10). Despite of the high short term
strength of the class 2 GFRP tendons only a low and probably uneconomical design strength
of 30% of the ultimate strength is possible for this material.
In row 5, 6 and 7 environmental design examples for a standard class 3 GFRP are given.
In row 5, for this GFRP the conditions of a long-term harbour application (wet, 20C, 50
years) is calculated, while in row 6 a typical softeye short term application (wet, 10C, 1
years) and in row 7 the ceiling of a hospital (dry, 20C, 100 years) is taken as an example.
Rows 8-10 show examples for a certified tested class 1 rebar system, which shows a
reduction of 18% per decade and a 1000h strength ffk1000h of 1000 N/mm. The main
difference between a normal rebar and a rebar system designed for durability from the same
material class is not the slope but the starting point of the line.
Without certified long term tests the rebar system has to be classified into the lowest class
for the particular kind of rebar (CFRP, AFRP, GFRP).

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Table 3-11: Examples for environmental design


Material

ftk0

ftk1000 R10

Moist.

CFRP
CFRP
AFRP
GFRP

class 1
class 2
class 1
class 2

MPa
2000
2000
2000
1400

MPa
cond.
2000 3% Dry
2000 5% Dry
1800 15% Dry
1000 20% Dry

-1
-1
-1
-1

GFRP class 3
GFRP class 3
GFRP class 3

650
650
650

366 25% Wet


366 25% Wet
366 25% Dry

1
1
-1

GFRP class 1 1100 1000 18% Wet


GFRP class 1 1100 1000 18% Wet
GFRP class 1 1100 1000 18% outdoor

3.6

nmo MAT nT

0
1
0

C
10
10
10
10

0
0
0
0

Serv nSL n
env,t 1/env,t
Life
years
100
3 2,0 1,1
94%
100
3 2,0 1,2
90%
100
3 2,0 1,6
65%
100
3 2,0 1,9
46%

ff

1,25
1,25
1,25
1,25

N/mm
1505
1444
1040
512

20 0,5
10
0
20 0,5

50 2,7
1
1
100
3

4,2
2,0
2,5

5,9
3,2
3,6

17% 1,25
32% 1,25
27% 2,25

87
165
143

10
10
30

100
1
100

3,0
2,0
4,0

1,8
1,5
2,2

55% 1,25
67% 1,25
45% 1,25

441
538
362

0
0
1

3
1
3

Safety factor for bond strength

A safety factor for bond strength, which takes into account bond deterioration with time,
also needs to be used in the design of FRP-reinforced concrete structures. In the IStructE
recommendations [IStructE (1999)], a material safety factor of 1.4 was suggested for all
FRPs, to account for long-term effects. This is equal to a reduction of the original strength
by approximately 30% (1-1/1.4=28%).
In this proposed methodology, a similar bond strength reduction is suggested by default,
but this reduction can be adjusted to account for ambient conditions, as per the tensile strength
durability specification. It is suggested that the bond strength be reduced by env,b determined
according to the equation below, where nmo , nT, nd and nSL are obtained from the tables in
paragraph 3.5.
env,b = 1 / [(100 R10)/100] n

(3-8)

Where: R10 is the % standard reduction of bond strength due to environmental influence.
For durability of bond like for durability of the rebar itself, the sustained (bond) stress as
well as the environmental parameters have a dominant influence. It has to be taken into
account that concrete strength (as well as phenomena such as shear off and spalling) can limit
the bond stress for the rebar. Furthermore bond stress is not constant for the whole
embedment or lap splice length.
To determine the maximum bond strength of the rebar, short centric pullout tests with
different concrete strengths are recommended. For the durability of bond this kind of test
should be performed with different sustained bond stresses.
See Chapter 7 for further information on bond behaviour.

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3 Durability: performance and design

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3.7

Conclusions

This section has discussed how the durability-related aspects of FRP used as an internal
concrete reinforcement are treated in existing design guidelines and has proposed a new, less
conservative approach to match the environmental conditions.
Based on the literature review presented above, the following points can be summarized
from the existing guidelines.
- The widely used ACI 440 design guideline divides between only two environmental
conditions: wet and dry environment. Additionally, there exists a big difference between
loads at the ultimate limit state and loads after creep rupture limit check, leading to a two
step design.
- The JSCE design guideline uses a single factor that incorporates several uncertainty
aspects including environmental durability. Stress limits for sustained stress are used.
- The UK IStructE design guideline deals with environmental degradation of FRP by using
one factor that takes into account the influence of environment, sustained stress and a few
other uncertainties.
- The Norwegian design guideline has a single factor to account for environmental
deterioration.
- The Canadian design guideline uses a slightly different approach than the others. Liberal
stress limits/design strengths are adopted, complemented by design examples. Restrictions
in the use of certain FRP types are widely withdrawn in the 2006 version, but now three
different classes of quality (class 1-3) are defined for each material group: aramid, carbon
and glass reinforcement.
It is clear that these differences in design approach to FRP durability makes it difficult
for the international construction community to have confidence in predictions of FRP service
life in aggressive environments. The biggest problem is the perception that GFRP is sensitive
to alkali attack and that the concrete environment is therefore intrinsically highly aggressive.
Research has shown that the concrete environment is not as aggressive as the alkaline
solutions that most researchers use and that alkali resistance can be significantly improved by
the selection of appropriately treated glass fibres, suitable resins and better production
techniques [Mufti et al. (2005), Mufti et al. (2007), Demis et al. (2007)].
Consequently, a more rigorous and less conservative approach to durability specification
is presented. This has been developed from an in-depth study of the parameters that affect
FRP durability in concrete and allows engineers to increase or decrease margins of safety
depending on environmental and stress conditions, generic FRP type and required design life.
This approach can become less conservative as more data, particularly from real life
structures, are acquired.

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Ultimate limit states for bending, compression and


tension

4.1

General

The majority of research work undertaken in this field to date relates to the bending
(flexural) characteristics/behaviour, whilst little information exists on the tension and
compression of FRP RC elements. Hence, this chapter addresses primarily the flexural
behaviour.

4.2

Bending

4.2.1

Section properties

Section analysis of steel RC sections is normally based on two basic assumptions: a) plane
sections remain plane at any stage of loading and b) a perfect bond exists between concrete
and reinforcement, ensuring strain compatibility along the section. The validity of adopting
these assumptions for RC sections reinforced with FRP reinforcement has been verified by
Duranovic et al. (1997a, 1997b). As result, normal section analysis techniques can be used for
the determination of the flexural characteristics of FRP RC sections. However, significant
bond deterioration can lead to violation of these assumptions; hence the following apply to
FRP bars with adequate bond characteristics.
4.2.2

Bending characteristics of FRP RC elements

In RC design, when the strength of reinforcement is fully utilized, the section is


considered to be under-reinforced. The effectiveness of flexural reinforcement is reduced
when the cross-section becomes over-reinforced. A RC section becomes over-reinforced
when the reinforcement does not reach its full potential and concrete crushes in compression.
In a balanced section, the reinforcements tensile strength and concrete compressive strength
are attained simultaneously. In conventional RC design with steel reinforcement, balanced
conditions are often assumed. However, the use of safety factors means that the sections
achieved are in general under-reinforced, enabling yielding of the reinforcement to be
achieved before concrete crushing.
For conventional steel reinforcement, the strength to stiffness ratio is similar to that of
normal concrete and, hence, the neutral axis depth for a balanced rectangular section is around
the middle of the overall effective depth. For FRP reinforcement, the strength to stiffness ratio
is an order of magnitude greater than that of concrete and, hence, the neutral axis depth for the
balanced section is very close to the compressive end, as shown in Figure 4-1.

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Figure 4-1: Strain distribution for a GFRP and steel RC balanced section [Pilakoutas (2000)]

The above implies that, for balanced FRP RC elements, which utilise the full strength of
FRP, a large proportion of the cross-section would be subjected to tensile strains. As a result,
much larger flexural deflections would be expected, and a greater strain gradient would exist
in the compressive zone than in a similar steel RC section. Prestressing or post-tensioning the
FRP reinforcement will eliminate most of the above problems. However, it makes the
construction process much more difficult and expensive.
If all other modes of failure are avoided, flexural failure in FRP RC sections will be
reached either by crushing of the concrete in compression or rupturing the FRP reinforcement
in tension. The tensile rupture of FRP reinforcement depends on its type, but also on its bond
characteristics. By its nature, RC cracks in tension and the FRP reinforcement is there to
prevent or control the opening crack. However, due to the very large difference in stiffness
between the cracked and un-cracked section, the stress in the reinforcement is expected to
vary substantially from the cracked to the uncracked section. This will result in high surface
shear stresses which put a very high demand on bond capacity and can lead to excessive slip
around a crack.
In order to predict the mode of failure of RC sections, it is necessary to examine the stress
developed in the reinforcement and concrete. Figure 4-2 exemplifies the variation of the stress
level in the reinforcement as a function of the amount of reinforcement.
GFRP: Ef = 40 GPa
CFRP: Ef = 115 GPa
Steel: Es = 200 GPa
fck = 30 MPa

Tensile Stress (MPa)

1500
1250
1000
750
500
250
0
0.0%

0.5%

1.0%

1.5%

2.0%

2.5%

3.0%

3.5%

4.0%

4.5%

FRP reinforcement ratio, f


Figure 4-2: Example of stress in reinforcement at concrete failure versus percentage amount of reinforcement

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4 Ultimate limit states for bending, compression and tension

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For the particular section analysed to produce the results of Figure 4-2, it is shown that the
steel RC section becomes over-reinforced at values of f around 3%. Below that f, the section
is under-reinforced and the steel is yielding. In the case of the GFRP and CFRP reinforced
sections, they both remain over-reinforced for f above 0.5%. For ratios below 0.5%, rupture
of the re-bar occurs, depending on the strength of the FRP.
It is obvious from Figure 4-2 that as the reinforcement ratio increases, the stress developed
in the FRP bar decreases. When this stress reduces below the strength of steel, larger areas of
reinforcement are required to achieve the same applied moment. The ratio of reinforcement
has several implications:
- Cost. Higher ratios of reinforcement, lead to less economic elements.
- Design philosophy. FRP material partial safety factors become irrelevant if their
design strength is not utilised.
- Short-term deformations. They will be larger, if high strains are needed from the FRP.
- Long-term deformations. If the concrete stress under sustained loading exceeds 0.45 fc,
(recommended in EC2, NDP) then much larger creep deformations will take place.
It is by now universally accepted that FRP over-reinforced concrete sections will be
inevitable in most structural applications. Naturally, this has implications on the ductility of
RC elements since unconfined concrete fails in an abrupt manner. Other sources of ductility
may be utilized if it is necessary to overcome this problem [Pilakoutas (2000)]. Possible
solutions include confinement of the concrete compression zone to provide concrete ductility,
use of hybrid FRP rebars or combination of FRP rebars with different characteristics, failing
at different strains, to provide pseudo-ductility. FRP rebars with plastic bond failure may also
be used to develop pseudo-plastic behaviour, or enhanced structural redundancy may be
provided through the addition of sacrificial rebars, which do not lead to collapse once they
fail. Finally, a combination of FRP and steel reinforcement may be used, in particular when
the FRP is placed near the surface of the concrete and steel deep inside.
4.2.2.1

Amount of longitudinal reinforcement for balanced sections

Existing design guidelines for FRP, such as ACI-440.1R (2006) and CAN/CSA (2006),
distinguish between the two types of flexural failure (i.e. concrete crushing and FRP rupture)
through the reinforcement ratio for balanced sections, fb. This ratio is influenced by the
mechanical properties of FRP and concrete and is calculated from expressions derived by
considering internal-force equilibrium. For instance, ACI-440.1R-06 adopted equation 4-1,
and a similar expression was adopted by the CAN/CSA (2006). Similarly, Pilakoutas et al.
(2002) proposed equation 4-2 derived from EC2 for FRP RC beams, which also accounts for
the material variability of concrete; while El-Ghandour (1999) proposed a semi-empirical
expression for FRP RC slabs (equation 4-3).

E f cu
f c
f f E f cu + f f
0.81 ( f ck + 8) cu
f
f f k ( fk + cu )
E fk

fb = 0.851

(4-1)

fb =

(4-2)

f Ef
fb = 2.1 cu
3
40 110*10

0.7

1.6

500
f
f

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The effect of concrete compressive strength and tensile characteristics of FRP on the value
of fb is depicted in Figure 4-3. The value of fb increases with concrete compressive strength,
whilst it reduces as the tensile strength of FRP increases. The values calculated by the
expressions proposed by El-Ghandour (1999) and Pilakoutas et al. (2002) are higher than
those predicted by the ACI-440.1R-06, in an attempt to ensure that if the balanced
reinforcement ratio is provided the concrete will not fail prematurely due to its natural
variability.

Figure 4-3: Effect of concrete cylinder strength and FRP properties on fb

4.2.3

Moment resistance of FRP RC elements

The ultimate moment resistance of FRP RC sections can be evaluated by adopting the
framework of Eurocode-2 (CEN 2004, Figure 4-4). The compression strength of any FRP
reinforcement can be ignored due to the anisotropic nature of the reinforcement and its low
contribution to the resistance-capacity.
cu
fcd
x

x = d
d

Fc
z = d- 0.5 x

Af
f

Ff

Figure 4-4: Simplified stress block proposed for FRP RC elements

When the amount of longitudinal FRP reinforcement, f, is higher than fb, flexural failure
is expected to occur due to concrete crushing, and the ultimate moment resistance (Mu) can be
calculated by equation 4-4.


M u = f cd bd 2 ( ) 1
2

56

(Nmm)

(4-4)

4 Ultimate limit states for bending, compression and tension

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where:
f cd =

cc f ck
c

(MPa)

(4-5)

cc = nationally determined parameter, the recommended value in EC2 is 1


= 0.8
for f ck 50 MPa
=1
f - 50

= 0.8 - ck

400

(4-5)

for 50 < f ck 90 MPa


f ck - 50
= 1.0 -

200

x
= = cu
d f + cu

cu + cu2 +

f =

(4-6)

4 cc f ck cu
c f Ef

(4-7)

Equation 4-10 can be used to calculate the stress developed in the FRP reinforcement and,
hence, verify that failure due to FRP rupture is avoided.

f = f Ef <

f fk

(4-8)

Non-dimensional bending coefficient

Alternatively, charts such as Figure 4-5 for constant-width FRP RC elements can be used
to determine the required reinforcement ratios given the applied moment. The dimensionless
parameter is determined by dividing M by bd2fcd. Once the required f is determined, a
check must be made on the reinforcement stress, f, by using charts such as Figure 4-6.
0.25
2

=Mu/(fcd bd )

0.20

fcd=ccfck/c
20 MPa
30 MPa
40 MPa
50 MPa

0.15

0.10

0.05
0

500

1000

1500

2000
2500
Ef (MPa) x f

3000

3500

4000

Figure 4-5: Design chart for flexural capacity of constant width FRP RC elements

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140

Normalised stress ratio


f / fcd

120

= Mu/(fcd bd )
= 0.05
= 0.08
= 0.12
= 0.16
= 0.20
= 0.24
= 0.28

100
80
60
40
20
0

0.25 0.50 0.75 1.00 1.25 1.50 1.75 2.00 2.25 2.50 2.75 3.00 3.25 3.50
f (%)
Figure 4-6: Design chart for tensile stress developed in FRP longitudinal reinforcement

Figure 4-7 shows the Mu obtained for an FRP RC section (250 mm wide and 350 mm
deep) by utilising the design charts. As expected, Mu increases with the amount of FRP
reinforcement and the concrete compressive strength as well as with the tensile strength of
FRP reinforcement.

250

250
200
150

200
150

100

100

50

50

0.5%

FRP type A - Ef = 40 GPa


FRP type B - Ef = 200 GPa
f = 1.5%

300
Mu, kNm

Mu, kNm

300

FRP type A - f = 40 GPa


FRP type B - f = 200 GPa
fck = 30 MPa

1.5%

2.5%

10

3.5%

20

30

40

50

fcd MPa

Figure 4-7: Effect of f, fcd and elastic modulus of FRP reinforcement on Mu (flexural concrete crushing)

If the amount of reinforcement in an FRP RC section is below fb, the expected type of
flexural failure is FRP rupture and, to calculate the ultimate moment of resistance (equation 411), it is necessary to determine the concrete compressive strain (c) at which FRP rupture
occurs. This can be achieved through an iterative procedure by solving equations 4-12 and 413.
Mu =

58

Af f fk

1 -
f
2

(N mm)

(4- 11)

4 Ultimate limit states for bending, compression and tension

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c
x
=
d fu + c

(4- 12)
c

f d
c

FC = FT b d

Af f fk

(N)

(4-13)

where fc is calculated from equation 4-14. The values proposed by Eurocode 2 [CEN (2004)]
are used for concrete strains c2 and cu, with the factor n depending on the characteristic
strength of concrete.
n

c
f c = f cd 1 1
for 0 c c 2
c 2
or
f c = f cd
for c 2 c cu 2

(MPa)

(4-14)

To ensure that the ultimate moment resistance is higher than the cracking moment of the
RC section, a minimum limit may be applied on the amount of longitudinal reinforcement.
For instance, ACI440.1R-06 has adopted equation 4-15 for this limit.

Af ,min =

0.41 f c'
2.26
bw d
bw d
f fu
f fu

(4-15)

An alternative equation 4-16 can be derived by using EC2 (NDP).


f ctm
bd 0.0013bd
f fk
It should be pointed out that these equations do not necessarily control cracking.
Af ,min = 0.26

4.2.4

(4-16)

Compression

The contribution of the compressive strength of FRP (or just GFRP) to the load-carrying
capacity of an FRP RC element is less than the contribution of steel reinforcement. Hence, the
contribution of such bars in carrying compression loads can be ignored. However, more
experimental research is required to verify this conclusion.
4.2.5

Tension

Tensile behaviour of FRP RC elements is influenced by the tension stiffening effect, i.e.
the ability of concrete to carry tension between the cracks. Experimental investigations [e.g.
Sooriyaarachchi et al. (2005)], suggest that concrete strength and reinforcement ratio have
direct influence on the tension stiffening behaviour (see Chapter 7). Accounting for tension
stiffening behaviour correctly is always important for predicting the overall tensile behaviour
of FRP RC elements.

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Serviceability Limit States

5.1

Introduction

Serviceability Limit States (SLS) are applied to RC structures to ensure their functionality
and structural integrity under service conditions. The design approach for conventional RC
requires SLS of the structure to be checked for relevant loading combinations. However, for
FRP RC structures, the specific mechanical characteristics of the FRP rebars are expected to
result in SLS-governed design. It is therefore important to define the serviceability checks and
corresponding limitations that are required for the design of such elements.
There are no fundamental reasons why the principles behind the verification of SLS for
FRP RC elements should not be similar to those already established in the codes of practice
for steel RC elements, such as Eurocode 2 [CEN (2004)] and CEB-FIP Model Code 1990
[CEB (1993)]. However, the actual limits could be different to account for differences in both
short and long-term properties between the steel and FRP reinforcement. The following SLS
for FRP RC members need to be considered:
-

Stresses in materials.
Deflections (short and long-term).
Crack width and spacing.

5.2

Current code limits for SLS

5.2.1

Code limits for stresses in materials

Determination of stresses developed within an FRP RC member depends on many


parameters such as: short and long-term behaviour and properties of concrete and FRP
materials, creep and shrinkage, loading history, crack distribution and environmental
conditions. Nonetheless, it has been already acknowledged that the same methodology used
for prediction of short-term behaviour of steel RC can be applied to FRP RC members
[Benmokrane et al. (1996), Masmoudi et al. (1998), Toutanji et al. (2000), Pecce et al.
(2000)]. This approach is also recommended by the various modifications to other existing
steel RC codes of practice. Within the service range, the stress levels in the materials should
remain below their elastic limit, and are therefore evaluated by elastic sectional analysis.
Codes of practice for steel RC members tend to limit the concrete compressive stresses
under service conditions. At higher stress levels, the concrete starts to behave non-linearly,
and the creep effect on the long-term behaviour of the element becomes more pronounced.
Eurocode 2, for instance, imposes limits on the maximum compressive concrete stresses
depending on the environmental conditions and the load combinations as shown in Table 5-1.
Table 5-1: Eurocode 2 serviceability stress limitation ratio c/fck.

Environment
High corrosive
Low corrosive

Rare
0.5
0.6

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Quasi-permanent
0.4
0.45

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To avoid the formation of large and permanent cracks that could affect the durability of
steel RC elements, some codes of practice tend to limit also the stress in the steel
reinforcement. Eurocode 2, for instance, recommends that steel stress, s, should be limited to
0.8fyk for the rare load combination.
When dealing with the stress limitation in FRP rebars, other factors also come into play.
FRP rebars under constant load can creep to failure after a certain "endurance" time in what is
referred to as creep rupture or stress corrosion. This is a particularly severe problem for
GFRP as discussed in Chapter 2.
FRP composite materials generally have good durability, with the fibres being protected
by the resin. However, at high stress levels, micro-cracks can develop in the resin. This
situation may be critical for fibres, in particular glass, because they can be damaged by
moisture and the alkaline concrete environment.
The ACI 440.1R design guideline [ACI (2006)] provides different limits for each type of
FRP reinforcement, which should not be exceeded under sustained and cyclic loading (Table
5-2). The Japanese recommendations limit the tensile stresses to the value of 80% of the
characteristic creep-failure strength of the FRP reinforcement, and it is noted that the stress
limitation should not be greater than 70% of the characteristic tensile strength of the FRP
reinforcement [JSCE (1997)]. The IStructE (1999) imposes even more severe limitations
through the use of the material partial safety factors m in BS8110 as shown in Table 5-3.
Similarly, ISIS Canada (2001) applies a reduction factor, F, to the material resistance factors.
Values of the factor F account for the ratio of sustained to live load as well as the type of FRP
reinforcement (Table 5-4).
Table 5-2: Allowable stresses for FRP rebars according to ACI 440.1R

Fibre type
Allowable stress

Glass FRP
0.20ffu

Aramid FRP
0.30ffu

Carbon FRP
0.55ffu

Table 5-3: Material partial safety factors according to IStructE (1999)

Material
E-glass reinforcement
Aramid reinforcement
Carbon reinforcement

Material partial safety factor


m
3.6
2.2
1.8

Table 5-4: FRP material reduction factor "F" [(ISIS Canada 2001)]

FRP Type
CFRP
AFRP
GFRP

62

Resistance
Factors (frp)
0.8
0.6
0.4

Reduction Factor "F"


Ratio of sustained to live load stresses
0.5
1.0
2.0
1.0
0.9
0.9
1.0
0.6
0.5
1.0
0.9
0.8

5 Serviceability Limit States

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5.2.2

Code limits for deflections

FRP RC members are expected to undergo larger deformations than steel RC members.
The allowable overall deflection depends on the importance of a given structural member, the
type of action (static or dynamic, permanent or live loads) and the type of structure being
considered (building, frame, bridge).
To satisfy the SLS of deflection, codes of practice for steel RC specify a minimum
thickness by limiting the ratio of the elements effective span to its effective depth.
Alternatively, deflections can be calculated and checked to be less than predefined limits that
are normally taken as a certain percentage of the effective span of the member. Eurocode 2,
for instance, typically limits the design deflections to either span/250 or span/500. Table 5-5
shows some common limitations for the maximum deflections.
Table 5-5: Maximum deflection limitation for RC members

Code
Eurocode 2
ACI 318-05

Type of structures
Aesthetic and functionality conditions (quasi permanent loads)
Damage limitation of non-structural elements sustained or
attached (quasi permanent loads)
Roofs and floors supporting or attached to non-structural
elements (Sum of long term deflection due to all sustained
loads and immediate deflection due to any additional live load):
Not likely to be damaged by large deflections
Likely to be damaged by large deflections
Elements not supporting or attached to non-structural elements
likely to be damaged by large deflections (immediate deflection
due to live loads):
Floors
Flat roofs

Limit
L/250
L/500

L/240
L/480

L/360
L/180

The limits on deflections for steel RC elements are equally applicable to FRP RC.
However, the ratios of effective span to depth are not. ACI 440.1R-06 [ACI (2006)]
considers that these ratios are not conservative for FRP RC and recommends further studies.

5.2.3

Code limits for cracking

Control of cracking in steel RC members is important for aesthetic purposes or specialized


performance like water tightness and, arguably, for mitigating the risk of corrosion of steel
rebars. When FRP reinforcement is used, corrosion is not the main issue because the rebars
are designed to be highly durable. However, crack widths have to be controlled to satisfy the
requirements of appearance and specialized performance.
Codes of practice tend to satisfy the SLS of cracking by simplified, deemed-to-satisfy
rules that control the detailing of the reinforcement. Alternatively, the maximum crack width
can be calculated and checked not to exceed predefined limits. Maximum values for design
crack width in FRP and steel reinforced concrete members, taken from several codes of
practice, are given in Table 5-6. It can be seen that the crack width limits have been relaxed
for FRP RC. However, these limits may not be adequate for structures exposed to extreme
and aggressive environmental conditions, or for those designed to be water-tight. In the
absence of more information, limitations suggested for steel RC structures could also be
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adopted for FRP RC structures. For temporary structures and those not requiring the
limitation of crack width for aesthetic reasons, the limitation on crack widths can be omitted.
ISIS Canada (2001) does not give much weight to crack width calculations, but emphasizes
that for crack control under normal conditions, the strain in the FRP reinforcement must not
exceed 2000 micro-strains. Likewise, CAN/CSA-S806-02 requires a quantity z not to
exceed 45000 N/mm for interior exposure or 38000 N/mm for exterior exposure, where z is
the same quantity used in ACI 318-05 for steel RC, but with modification factors for FRP, as
follows.
z = kb

Es
f f 3 cA
Ef

(5-1)

It is worthwhile to mention that, in ACI 318 (2002) and ACI 318 (2005), control of
cracking under normal exposure conditions is only provided by limiting the spacing of steel
rebars, without calculating the quantity z. ACI Committee 318 (2002) emphasizes that
crack widths in structures are highly variable, which makes crack width prediction equations
unreliable as a basis for crack control. It is further explained that the role of cracks in
corrosion of reinforcement is controversial, which does not warrant the former distinction
between normal interior and exterior exposure conditions.
Table 5-6: Crack width limitations for FRP and steel RC elements

Code
Eurocode 2
Model Code 1990
JSCE (1997)
ACI 440.1R-06
CSA (2002)
ACI 440.1R-06
CSA (2002)
IStuctE (1999)

5.3

Material
Steel
Steel
FRP
FRP

Exposure
Normal
Normal
Interior

wmax
0.3 mm
0.3 mm
0.5 mm
0.7 mm

FRP

Exterior

0.5 mm

FRP

Close to observer
Away from observer

0.3 mm
>0.3 mm

Deflection: code models and approaches for FRP RC

Under similar conditions, in terms of concrete, loading, member dimensions and area of
reinforcement, FRP RC members would develop larger deformations than steel reinforced
members. This is mainly due to the lower modulus of elasticity of the FRP rebars, but is also
influenced to a certain extent by the differences in bond characteristics.
FRP rebars have high tensile strengths and stress-strain behaviour that is linear up to
failure. This leads, under pure bending and beyond the crack formation phase, to almost
linear moment-curvature and load-deflection relationships up to failure. Despite this brittle
behaviour, FRP elements are capable of achieving large deformations that are comparable to
those of steel RC elements [Pilakoutas (2000)].
Several simplified models are used for the prediction of both short and long-term
deflections of steel RC members. Some of these models were modified to become applicable
for FRP RC, and are discussed in this section.

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5.3.1

Deflections in accordance with Eurocode 2 and CEB-FIP Model Code 1990

Eurocode 2 and Model Code 1990 adopt the following approach for the calculation of
short and long-term deflection for steel RC.

= 2 + 1 (1 )

(5-2)

where, the ratio between the cracking and maximum bending moment under service loading is
taken into account using the following equation.

M
= 1 cr
M max

(5-3)

In the above expressions 1 and 2 are calculated assuming constant uncracked and
cracked sectional moments of inertia along the element.
Values recommended for these coefficients in Model Code 1990 and Eurocode 2 are
shown in table 5-7.
Table 5-7: Values for coefficients and m

Eurocode 2
Model Code 1990

1
0.8

m
2
1

For FRP rebars the coefficients and m should be evaluated experimentally. Zhao (1999)
concluded that both the Eurocode 2 and Model Code 1990 prediction equations for the
instantaneous deflection of steel RC elements could be adopted directly for GFRP RC
members in bending. Pecce et al. (2000) pointed out that the model proposed for steel
reinforcement by Eurocode 2 is reliable and could be used for GFRP RC beams if the bond
performance is comparable.
Pecce et al. (2001) carried out a statistical analysis to assess the reliability of the ACI and
Eurocode equations adopted to predict deflections. The study pointed out that the evaluation
of the cracking moment could play a crucial role in the effectiveness of model predictions,
since the serviceability load is not far from the cracking load when FRP rebars are used. The
statistical analysis based on experiments conducted on GFRP RC elements indicated a large
scatter of results.

5.3.2

Deflections in accordance with ACI 440.1R-06

The short-term deflection of a steel RC cracked beam can be simply obtained by applying
the standard linear-elastic approach and using a constant effective moment of inertia [Branson
(1966), (1977)], as in equation 5.4.
3
M 3
M cr
cr
Ie = I g
+ I cr 1
Ig
M max
M max

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This equation, however, has been found to yield a beam response that is too stiff for FRP
RC members, thus underestimating deflections [Yost et al. (2003)]. Several approaches to
modify this equation have been proposed by researchers in the field and are discussed in the
following.
ACI 440.1R-03 modifies the model for the evaluation of the effective moment of inertia of
FRP RC elements, as follows:
3
M 3
M cr
cr
Ie = d Ig
+ Icr 1
Ig
M
M

max
max
E

d = b f + 1
Es

(5-5)
(5-6)

Experimental analyses carried out by Pecce et al. (2000) and Toutanji and Deng (2003)
pointed out that the deflections in GFRP RC beams could be accurately predicted by the
approach of ACI 440.1R and assuming a value of b, a bond dependent coefficient, equal to
0.5. Stone et al. (2002) found that the above approach could be very conservative in
predicting the experimental deflection of CFRP RC elements.
Conversely, Zhao, Pilakoutas and Waldron (1997) reported that the deflections of FRP RC
elements are predictable in the same way as for steel RC elements and went on to demonstrate
that through their experimental work (using Eurocrete rebars). Hence, they concluded that the
original ACI equations, without any modification, could adequately predict the deflections of
FRP RC elements.
ACI 440.1R-06 abandons the reliance of d on bond and takes d as proportional to the
ratio of reinforcement ratio to the balanced reinforcement ratio:
1 f
d =
5 fb

(5-7)

The above expression for d, however, is based on a statistical fit of experimental data and
does not build upon the underlying principles of tension stiffening. As such, the above
equation has been subject of debate by various researchers and alternative expressions have
already been proposed (see Equation 5-14) [Bishoff (2007)].
ACI 318-05 (2005) calculates long-term deflections of steel RC by simply multiplying the
short-term deflection due to sustained load by the following factor.

1 + 50 '

(5-8)

For FRP RC, ACI 440.1R adopts the same approach to evaluate long-term deflections, but
considers ' equal to zero because the FRP reinforcement is not effective in compression.
Also, the factor is reduced by 40% to allow for the larger initial deflection of FRP RC and
the compressive stress level in the concrete. Hence, is evaluated as follows.

= 0.6

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5.3.3

Deflections in accordance with ISIS Canada (2001)

To calculate deflections, ISIS Canada (2001) adopts the same modified Branson equation
for the effective moment of inertia as in ACI 440.1R, shown earlier. It is emphasized,
however, that the correction factor, d, was based on limited test data, with doubtful
applicability to other loading and boundary conditions.
Another equation for the effective moment of inertia, described as derived from CEB-FIP
Model Code (1990), is proposed as follows.
Ie =

I t I cr
2

M cr
I cr + 1 0.5
( I t I cr )
M

max

(5-10)

This equation was reported to work well with different types of FRP reinforcement.
5.3.4

Deflections in accordance with CAN/CSA-S806 (2002)

CAN/CSA-S806 (2002) evaluates short-term deflections of FRP RC members by


integration of curvatures at sections along the span. A tri-linear moment-curvature relation is
assumed with the flexural stiffness being EcIg for the first segment, zero for the second, and
EcIcr for the third. Alternatively, simple deflection equations, clearly derived from the
assumed moment-curvature relation, are provided. The long-term deflections after 5 years are
obtained by multiplying the short-term sustained deflection by a factor of 2.

5.3.5

Deflections in accordance with the Japanese JSCE (1997)

The Japanese [JSCE (1997)] uses the same methods as those for steel RC. However,
where the FRP Youngs modulus is low compared to steel, and where the reinforcement ratio
is low, the increased deformations are expected to be associated with shear cracking, which in
turn is expected to affect the deformation of the whole structure. In such cases, it is required
that shear cracking be properly allowed for in calculating deformation levels.

5.3.6

Other approaches for evaluation of deflection in FRP RC members

Faza and GangaRao (1992) proposed a model for the evaluation of the average second
moment of area Im for the entire beam, which is only valid for the four-point loading pattern,
with the loads applied at third points. Im was derived assuming Icr between the point loads
and Ie at the end sections, as follows.
23I e I cr
8 I cr + 15 I e
where: Ie is the original Branson effective moment of inertia.
Im =

(5-11)

Brown and Bartholomew (1996) used the same original Branson equation for the effective
moment of inertia, but with increased exponent of 5 instead of 3, to soften the member
response and take into account a lower tension stiffening effect when FRP bars are used
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[Bishoff (2006)]. Prediction of results according to this modified equation, however, has
shown to underestimate deflection at lower load levels [Bishoff (2005)].
Toutanji and Saafi (1999) concluded, based on their work and work of others, that
Bransons equation underestimated FRP deflections, but only for low reinforcement ratios
(less than 1%). A modified exponent (m), which incorporated the effect of reinforcement
ratio (f in percent) and modulus of elasticity, was proposed to be used in Bransons equation
as follows.
m = 6

10 E f

f for

Ef

Es
Es
Ef
m = 3 for
f 0.3
Es

f < 0.3

(5-12)
(5-13)

Based on statistical evaluation of FRP RC test data, Yost et al. (2003) proposed a modified
form for the factor d in the effective moment of inertia (Ie) equation in ACI 440.1R-06, as in
eq. (5-8).
The use of this equation has been reported to work well for rectangular but not T-beams.
Moreover, this equation inappropriately entails that deflection depends on the ultimate tensile
stress of the FRP reinforcement.
Bischoff and Scanlon (2007) proposed a totally different form for the effective moment of
inertia (Ie). Ie was derived based on tension stiffening of curvatures rather than moments of
inertia; similar to the CEB (1993) and Eurocode 2 (CEN 2004) approaches. Bischoff
considered his equation to be equally applicable for FRP and steel RC. Ie was given as
follows.
Ie =

I cr
M
1 cr
M max

= 1

5.3.7

Ig

I cr
Ig

(5-14)

(5-15)

Dimensioning for deflection control

ISIS Canada (2001) proposes an equation for the span to total depth ratio for FRP RC as
follows.

L
L s
=
h f h s f

(5-16)

El-Ghandour (1999) proposed a dimensioning method to achieve deflection control. The


equation for determining span to depth ratios (L/h) according to specific SLS for slabs and
beams was given as:

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(L/h) = 24.2 (250/r)

1.9

(Ef /99000)0.1 (fcu/40)-0.44

(5-17)

Ospina et al. (2001) defined a minimum depth for beams and one-way slabs (h), or
equivalently a maximum span to depth ratio (L/h), by the limiting cracked curvature at a
target deflection-to-span limit (/L)max, as follows.

L 48 1- k


h 5K1 f L max

(5-18)

where K1 is 1.0, 0.8, 0.6, and 2.4 for uniformly loaded simply-supported, one-end continuous,
both-ends continuous, and cantilevered spans, respectively; =d/h and k is the ratio of the
compressive concrete zone to the effective depth under cracked elastic conditions.
Ospina and Gross (2005) modified Equation (5-18) to allow for tension stiffening by
using the curvature tension stiffening model of CEB (1993). They also developed a table for
minimum member thickness, Table 5-8, by multiplying Equation (5-18) by the ratio Ie/Ig. This
equation has also been adopted by ACI (2006).
Table 5-8: Recommended Minimum Thickness of Non-prestressed Beams
and One-Way Slabs Reinforced with FRP rebars

Solid one-way slabs


Beams

5.4

Simply
Supported
L/13
L/10

Minimum Thickness, h
One End
Both Ends
Continuous
Continuous
L/17
L/22
L/12
L/16

Cantilever
L/5.5
L/4

Cracking: code models and approaches for FRP RC

This section is concerned only with the most common structural type of cracks, namely,
transverse flexural cracks.
Crack width is primarily a function of the deformation of the reinforcement and concrete
between two adjacent cracks. Therefore, crack width is a function of crack spacing.
Researchers differ in the method of correlating crack width to crack spacing and concrete
cover. In general, the following points are accepted [Zhao (1999)].
- Crack width is a function of reinforcement strain, which sometimes approximates to a
linear relationship.
- The concrete cover has an important effect on crack width.
- Crack width is a function of crack spacing up to a certain limit.
- Crack width and crack spacing are variable in magnitude and follow approximately a
normal distribution.
Similar to deflections, flexural cracks in FRP RC members tend to be wider than those in
steel RC members. Again, this is mainly due to the lower modulus of elasticity of the FRP
rebars, and, to some extent, to the difference in bond characteristics. Several simplified
models are used for the prediction of crack width and spacing of steel RC members. Some of
these models were modified to become applicable for FRP RC, and are discussed in this
section.

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5.4.1

Crack width in accordance with Eurocode 2

The crack width calculations according to Eurocode 2 for steel RC are as follows.

wcr = srm sm

(5-19)

= 1.3
sm is the mean reinforcement strain allowing for tension stiffening;
sm = s [1 1 2 ( sr / s ) 2 ] / Es
1 equals 1.0 for high-bond bars and 0.5 for plain bars;
2 equals 1.0 for a single, short-term loading and 0.5 for a sustained or cyclic load;
s rm is the average final crack spacing;
d
srm = 50 + 0.25k1k2
;

k1 equals to 0.8 for high-bond bars and 1.6 for plain bars;
k2 equals to 0.5 for bending and 1.0 for pure tension;
The Eurocode 2 crack width equation is strain based and can be adopted directly for the
crack width determination of FRP RC elements. The approach adopted is also sophisticated
enough to allow both for different bond characteristics, via parameter 1, and for long-term
stress, via parameter 2. The accuracy of the crack width predictions by the Eurocode 2
approach was demonstrated by Zhao (1999).
5.4.2

Crack width in accordance with ACI 440.1R-06

ACI 224 (2001), which deals with cracking of steel RC, explains that statistical analysis of
maximum crack width data by Gergely and Lutz (1968) leads to a formula for the maximum
probable crack width. This formula has been simplified as follows.
w = 2.2 s 3 cA

(5-20)

Based on Frosch (1999) equation, ACI 440.1R modifies the model for the evaluation of crack
width in FRP RC, as follows:
w=2

in which,

ff
Ef

ff
Ef

kb

s
c +
2
2

(5-21)

= f is the FRP reinforcement strain. If the bond is similar to steel, then kb is

equal to one. If the bond is weaker than steel then kb is larger than one, and vice versa. If kb
is not provided from experimental data, the value of 1.2 may be adopted. Zhao (1999)
confirmed that the above ACI (2001) expression was valid for the Eurocrete rebars. ISIS
Canada (2001) adopts an expression similar to ACI (2001) where crack width calculations are
needed. CAN/CSA-S806 (2002) also adopts the ACI approach, but modifies the quantity "z"
instead of the crack width (Equation 5-1).

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5.4.3

Crack width in accordance with the Japanese JSCE (1997)

For the evaluation of crack widths, JSCE (1997) uses the following equation to obtain the
maximum crack width.


wmax = kb 4c + 0.7 ( c f d ) fe + csd
E f

(5-22)

This approach is the same as that used for calculation of crack widths of steel RC members.
The bond coefficient kb is to be determined for each type of FRP rebar. However, when the
FRP and steel rebars have similar bond characteristics, kb may be taken as 1.0.

5.4.4

Other approaches for evaluation of crack width in FRP RC members

Faza and GangaRao (1991) proposed calculations for crack widths that incorporated the
actual bond strength of the FRP rebars, as follows, but this procedure did not compare well to
experiments involving sand-coated GFRP rebars, characterized by high bond strength.

wma x = l f
l=

(5-23)

(2 f ct A)
max d

(5-24)

where:
f is the maximum strain in FRP reinforcement at service load level with 0.5(0.8ffu) to be

ffu

used if no computations were available


is the experimental rupture stress

Bakis et al. (2006) recommend a value of 1.4 for rebars that are not smooth.

5.4.5

Dimensioning for crack width control

Newhook et al. (2002) proposed a procedure aiming at dimensioning the cross-sectional area
of FRP rebars required for a section subjected to flexure. By following this approach, crack
width in service is controlled and adequate curvature before failure is ensured. The procedure
is based on limiting the allowable FRP strain in service to 2000 micro-strains, and on a
ductility factor of 4, taken as the ratio of the products of moment and curvature at ultimate
and service loads. This procedure appears to be unduly conservative and more research is
required to establish more economic limits.

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Shear and punching shear

6.1

General

Shear behaviour of reinforced concrete (RC) members is a complex phenomenon that


relies on the development of internal carrying mechanisms, the magnitude and combination of
which is still a subject of debate. Nevertheless, it has been recognised that the shear resistance
of RC elements is determined mainly by the contribution offered by the un-cracked
compression zone, aggregate interlock, dowel action and, when provided, shear
reinforcement. The development of all of these basic mechanisms, however, depends not only
on the characteristics of the concrete itself, but also on the mechanical properties of the
reinforcing material and the nature of the interaction between concrete and reinforcement.
This chapter examines how the use of FRP reinforcement will affect the various shear
resisting mechanisms and how the overall behaviour can be accounted for in the development
of design recommendations that can accommodate effectively the use of this type of
reinforcement.

6.2

Effect of FRPs mechanical properties on local shear carrying


mechanisms

The distinctive mechanical properties of FRPs are paramount to the way in which the
various mechanisms contributing to the total shear resistance develop and interact. The larger
strains that are induced in the reinforcement of FRP RC elements in general result in larger
deflections and wider cracks, and the absence of plastic behaviour in the reinforcement
always leads to a brittle failure and renders more problematic the redistribution of stresses
within the structure. Furthermore, the anisotropic nature of composite reinforcement needs to
be taken into account when determining its performance under a combination of axial and
transversal forces. This is especially important for shear links. All of these aspects, and their
effect on local shear carrying mechanisms, are discussed in turn in the following.

6.2.1

Shear transfer in the compression zone

In reinforced concrete elements, the depth of the compression zone substantially


determines shear strength, but it is highly dependant on the properties of the longitudinal
reinforcement. The shear capacity of FRP RC sections is therefore expected to be somewhat
different than that of conventional steel RC sections. While steel reinforced elements s eem to
deteriorate in shear very quickly once the yield strain of the flexural reinforcement is reached,
similar behaviour is not observed in those reinforced with FRP. This can be attributed to the
fact that the neutral axis depth of the former reduces rapidly after yielding (Figure 6-1), hence
reducing the area of concrete in compression [Zhao et al. (1997a; 1997b)]. As a consequence,
the shear resistance offered by the concrete in compression also reduces after yielding. In FRP
reinforced elements, after cracking, the area of concrete under compression is considerably
smaller than that developed in similar steel RC sections already at relatively low load levels.
As strain in the bars increases, however, the compression area does not decrease further as is
the case for steel (Figure 6-1). In fact, due to non-linearity in the mechanical characteristics of
concrete in compression, the area of concrete under compression increases and the shear
resistance is influenced in a less profound way. Although a smaller shear resistance is
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Neutral axis depth (mm)

expected from FRP RC elements straight after cracking, a less rapid degradation will occur
with increasing the strain in the reinforcing bars.
300

250

200
yielding
150
Steel RC section
100
FRP RC section
50
0.0

0.3

0.6

0.9

1.2

1.5
Strain (%)

Figure 6-1: Behaviour of steel and FRP RC sections with same geometry and amount of longitudinal
reinforcement

6.2.2

Aggregate interlock

In the tensile zone, shear transfer across a crack by mechanical interlock is developed
when a shear displacement parallel to the direction of the crack occurs (Figure 6-2). Many
experimental programmes were conducted over the years to investigate aggregate interlock
and to determine its contribution to the total shear capacity of a concrete structure. The results
of such investigations have shown that, for beams without web reinforcement, the relative
magnitude of shear force carried by aggregate interlock can be estimated to be between 33%
and 50% of the shear capacity of uncracked concrete [Taylor (1970)]. This percentage,
however, reduces with increasing crack width [Walraven (1981)].

w = crack width
v
= parallel displacement of cracked edges
, = transferred stresses

Figure 6-2: Transfer of forces across cracks due to aggregate interlock

When FRP bars are used in a RC element, higher deflections and wider cracks are
expected to develop. For example, Mikani et al. (1989) observed crack widths in GFRP RC
beams about three times wider than those in equivalent steel RC beams for the same sustained
load. A smaller amount of shear force is therefore expected to be carried by aggregate
interlock in FRP reinforced structures.

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6.2.3

Dowel action of reinforcement

The term dowel action refers to the combination of the tensile resistance of the concrete
surrounding the flexural reinforcement and the bending and transverse shear resistance of the
reinforcing bars (Figure 6-3). Studies have shown that for lightly reinforced elements [for
example Kotsovos and Pavlovic (1999)], dowel action is a shear carrying action that is of a
relatively minor importance in comparison to other shear transfer mechanisms.
When FRP reinforcement is used as flexural reinforcement, the resistance to the shear
capacity offered by its dowel action can be considered negligible, mainly because of the very
low transverse stiffness typical of FRP materials [Kanakubo and Shindo (1997), Tottori and
Wakui (1993)].
V

V
M
M
V
V
flexural resistance of the bar

shear resistance of the bar

Figure 6-3: Mechanisms of dowel action for flexural bars crossing a crack

6.2.4

Shear reinforcement

When shear demand exceeds the inherent shear capacity of concrete, transverse
reinforcement needs to be provided. The provision of transverse reinforcement, most
commonly in the form of vertical links, enables the transfer of tensile forces across inclined
shear cracks (Figure 6-4).
V

Avfv

Avfv
s

Figure 6-4: Shear reinforcement contribution to total shear capacity

Shear reinforcement is mobilised only in the tension zone of a beam and its contribution to
shear resistance depends upon the maximum stress that the reinforcement can support. In the
case of conventional steel reinforcement, this is equal to the yield stress while with FRP
reinforcement, which is linear elastic up to failure, other governing phenomena such as slip
and elongation become more relevant. Furthermore, as reported in various studies [Eshani et
al. (1995); Maruyama et al. (1989); Mochizuki et al. (1989); Nagasaka et al. (1989)], the
tensile strength of FRP rods is largely reduced under a combination of tensile and shear
stresses (Figure 6-5). Consequently, if high stresses are developed in the links, failure is
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expected at the corner anchorages. The reduction in strength that occurs at the corners of a
FRP bar depends on the embedment length to diameter ratio, type of composite, bond
properties and type of anchorage provided. Researchers working in this area recommend
using, as a design parameter, a maximum strength equal to 40%-50% of the guaranteed
uniaxial strength of the composite [Morphy et al. (1997); Shehata et al. (2000)].
The Japan Society of Civil Engineering [JSCE (1997)] imposes a limit on the maximum
strength that can be developed in bent bars (Eq. (6-1)) and the same limit is adopted in the
design recommendations proposed by the American Concrete Institute [ACI (2006)] and the
ISIS Network [ISIS (2001)].

r
f fb = 0.05 b + 0.3 f fu f fu
db

(6-1)

The strain limit recommended by the various committees, together with the limit imposed
by Eq. (6-1), protects against shear failure due to fracture of the shear reinforcement.
1+ 1

1 = tensile stress developed in the bar


2 = stress induced by the confined concrete
= bond stresses developed along the

concrete-bar interface

Figure 6-5: Schematization of forces acting on the bent portion of a bar embedded in concrete

6.3

Shear modes of failure in FRP RC elements

Failure of RC elements due to shear is always preceded by the formation of cracks


inclined to the main axis of the element. The formation of shear cracks changes the internal
behaviour of the element and failure can subsequently take place either simultaneously with
the formation of new or extending shear cracks or after an increase in the applied load.
In addition to the typical shear modes of failure that can occur in a conventionally
reinforced concrete element, most commonly diagonal tension failure and shear compression
failure, FRP RC elements can fail in shear due to fracture of the shear reinforcement (cf.
6.2.4).
Shear failure for crushing of the concrete struts is a failure mechanism that depends only
on the concrete characteristics and therefore recommendations as for current design codes for
steel RC remain valid and are adopted for FRP RC elements as well.

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6.4

Shear design approach for FRP RC elements

Over the past decades, several explanatory theories have been proposed, and contrasting
assumptions regarding how shear forces are resisted and transferred within a concrete element
still divide the scientific community [Mitchell and Collins (1974), Nielsen (1984), Vecchio
and Collins (1986), Hsu et al. (1987), Kotsovos (1988)]. Although a greatly improved
understanding of the shear behaviour of reinforced concrete has been achieved since the truss
analogy theory (Morsh 1909), the complexity of the various predictive models makes them
difficult to incorporate directly into design equations. Consequently, the majority of existing
national and international design codes (e.g. ACI 2005, BSI 1990) are based upon a semi
empirical approach and rely on the underlying assumption that the various mechanisms that
develop are plastic and redistribution of stresses can occur following yielding of the
reinforcement. According to this approach, the shear capacity can be expressed in terms of a
concrete contribution and, when provided, an additional contribution offered by the shear
reinforcement.
Redistribution of stresses, however, is more problematic when adopting elastic-brittle
materials such as FRP. Researchers in the field have argued that the design approach used for
steel RC members, which relies heavily on stress redistribution and on the underlying principles
of plasticity theory, may not be safely applied to FRP RC members [Stratford and Burgoyne
(2003)]. Nevertheless, evidence shows that, provided shear cracks are effectively controlled
and the individual shear resistances of the concrete and shear reinforcement are effectively
mobilised, the assumption that the contribution of the two mechanisms can be simply added
together yields analytical predictions that are in good agreement with the experimental
evidence [Guadagnini et al. (2003, 2006)]. Experimental tests carried out by various
researchers on both beams [for example Maruyama and Zhao (1994, 1996), Nagasaka et al.
(1995), Alsayed et al. (1996)] and slabs [for example Matthys and Taerwe (2000), ElGhandour et al. (2003), Ospina et al. (2003)] showed that the shear capacity of FRP RC
elements can be predicted with an adequate margin of safety by adopting the classic
formulation that was derived for steel RC and taking into account the reduced stiffness of the
different type of reinforcement to that of steel.

6.4.1

Design principles

The basic principle underlying existing recommendations for the design of FRP RC structures
is that, assuming that adequate bond between concrete and reinforcement can be developed, the
concrete section experiences forces and strains that are independent of the type of flexural
reinforcement utilized. Hence, if a design using FRP maintains the same strain in the longitudinal
reinforcement (f = s), and the same design forces are developed (Ff = Fs), then that design, by
definition, will lead to the same safe result as when steel reinforcement is used. In the literature this
approach is most often referred to as the strain approach [for example Guadagnini et al. (2003)].
Based on this assumption (Eq. (6-2)), an equivalent area of flexural reinforcement (Ae) can be
determined according to Eq. (6-3).

Ff = f E f Af = s Es As = Fs
Ae = Af

Ef
Es

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Most researchers and code developers working in the field adopt this principle of equivalent
area of reinforcement, or apply similar correction terms that take into account the different axial
rigidity of the flexural reinforcement, in order to evaluate concrete shear resistance.
As far as shear reinforcement is concerned, the amount of FRP required is determined by
controlling the maximum strain (fw) that can be developed in the shear reinforcement. The
limiting values of strain used in initial design recommendations were based on the yielding strain
of steel (between 0.2% - 0.25%) and were imposed primarily to preserve the integrity of the
section and guarantee the additive nature of the resisting mechanisms. On the basis of
experimental evidence, higher allowable strain values were subsequently proposed by
researchers in the field, and are now implemented in less conservative design guidelines, to
capture more adequately the true behaviour of FRP RC elements (Figure 6-6). The maximum
stress that can be developed in the shear links (ffw) is then simply computed according to Eq.
(6-4) and the amount of shear reinforcement is designed according to the well established truss
analogy theory.

f fw = fw E fw
Stress

(6-4)

strain limit for FRPs


(f = 0.2% - 0.45%)

Typical
GFRP

yielding
Typical
steel

0.5

1.5

2.5
Strain (%)

Figure 6-6: Limiting strain for shear reinforcement adopted by current design recommendations for FRP RC

6.5

Modifications to code design equations to allow for the use of


FRP reinforcement

On the basis of the considerations above, and to facilitate the rapid adoption of FRP in
concrete construction, all of the code developers working in the field have attempted to
provide simple design rules using modified versions of existing predictive equations based on
the well-established philosophy for steel reinforced structures.
In the following, various shear and punching shear design recommendations to allow for
the use of FRP reinforcement are presented and discussed. It should be noted that all of the
partial factors for materials as well as load and resistance factors adopted by the different
design standards are not included in the equations below in order to allow for easier
comparison between the various formulations. For a detailed description of the equations,
including limiting values for the various factors, the reader is invited to refer to the original
documents.
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6.5.1

Shear in FRP RC Beams

6.5.1.1

Modifications to the JSCE standard specifications

The Japan Society of Civil Engineers published the first set of design recommendations
for the design of concrete structures reinforced with advanced composites [JSCE (1997)].
According to these recommendations, shear capacity of FRP RC elements can be estimated
adopting the same principles as for the design of steel RC. Hence, the shear capacity of the
concrete is determined by using an empirical equation that follows the same format as that
provided in the Japanese design code for steel RC and includes a modifying term to account
for the different stiffness of the reinforcement (Eq. (6-5)). The direct application of the strain
approach introduced in 6.4.1 is instantly recognizable (see symbols in bold).

Vcf = 0.2 4 1 d 3 100

Af E f

bw d E s

3 f c' bw d

(6-5)

The design shear capacity offered by the FRP shear reinforcement can be computed
according to the classical formulation for steel RC in which the different nature of the shear
reinforcement is taken into account by substituting the yield stress of the reinforcement with
the product of the Youngs modulus of the FRP shear reinforcement, Efw and its strain design
value, fwd (Eq.(6-6)). The strain design value of FRP shear reinforcement is taken
accordingly to Eq. (6-7).

Vsf =

fwd

Afw E fw fwd
s

h
=

0.3

1
10

f c'

(6-6)

f Ef
104
fw E fw

(6-7)

Where the design stress, Efwfwd, is greater than the strength of the bent portion of FRP
calculated according to Eq. (6-1), the latter should be used instead.
6.5.1.2

Modifications to the British standard

The Institution of Structural Engineers published an Interim guidance on the design of


reinforced concrete structures using fibre composite reinforcement [IStructE (1999)]. This
guide is in the form of suggested changes to the British Design Codes BS8110: Structural
use of concrete Part 1 [BSI (1997)] and BS5400: Part 4 Code of practice for the design of
concrete bridges [BSI (1990)]. The suggested modifications are in line with the strain
approach (6.4.1) and propose the use of the modification factor given in Eq. (6-3). Hence,
the modified BS8110 equation for concrete shear strength of sections reinforced with FRP,
vcf, is given in Eq. (6-8).
1

E 3 400 4 f cu
100
vcf = 0.79
Af f

200 d 25
bw d
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As far as the shear strength resisted by the vertical shear reinforcement is concerned, this
can be evaluated using the usual formulation derived according to the truss analogy theory as
reported for steel, but controlling the maximum strain developed in the vertical bars,
according to the strain approach.
Following these recommendations, and limiting the strain to the value of 0.0025, the shear
strength offered by the web reinforcement is given in Eq. (6-9).

vsf =
6.5.1.3

0.0025E fw Afw

(6-9)

bw s
Modifications to the ACI design specifications

Committee 440 of the American Concrete Institute made modifications to the existing code for
steel RC structures [ACI (2005)] based on an adaptation of the strain approach, since the
reinforcement area cannot be modified directly in the simple shear equation (cf. ACI 318-05 Eq.
11-3).
The shear design equation for FRP RC beams without stirrups in ACI 440.1R-06 [ACI (2006)]
is based on the model of Tureyen and Frosch (2002, 2003) and represents a significant change to
the way in which the computation of the concrete shear contribution was dealt with in the previous
editions of this document (see for example ACI (2003)). According to this model, the axial
stiffness of the longitudinal FRP reinforcement is taken into account through the depth of the
concrete in compression, c. The concrete shear resistance, Vcf, of flexural members with FRP
reinforcement is then evaluated according to Eq (6-10).
Vcf = 0.4 f c' bw c

(6-10)

For singly reinforced rectangular sections, and assuming elastic-cracked conditions


c = k d

(6-11)

k = 2 f n f + ( f n f )2 f n f

(6-12)

where

and

f =
nf =

Af

(6-13)

bw d
Ef

(6-14)

Ec

Eq. (6-10) can also be re-written as

12
Vcf = k 0.167
5

80

f c' bw d

(6-15)

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which is simply the ACI 318 equation for the concrete shear resistance of steel RC, modified
by the factor (12/5k) which accounts for the axial stiffness of the FRP reinforcement.
The contribution of FRP stirrups is taken into account using the same method as for steel
stirrups, but adopting a value of FRP tensile strength, ffw, that is taken as the smallest of
0.004Efw and the strength of the bent portion of FRP stirrups calculated according to Eq. (6-1)
.
6.5.1.4

Modifications to the CSA design specifications

The Canadian Standard Association published a set of standards for the design of concrete
structures reinforced with FRP reinforcement [CAN/CSA (2004)]. According to the
simplified design method considered by the CSA for steel RC elements, the concrete shear
resistance is calculated according to the characteristics of the section. For members having an
effective depth not exceeding 300 mm or an amount of transverse reinforcement at least equal
to the minimum required, the concrete contribution is given by Eq. (6-16). For members with
an effective depth greater than 300 mm or with transverse reinforcement less than the
required, equation (6-17) is used instead.
1

Vf 3
Vcf = 0.035 f c f E f
d bw d

M
f

(6-16)

130
Vcf =
f cbw d
1000 + d

(6-17)

If FRP shear reinforcement is used in lieu of steel, its contribution is taken into
account using the same method as for steel reinforcement but only 40% of the ultimate
strength of the stirrups is considered for design purposes (Eq. (6-18)).
Vsf =
6.5.1.5

0.4 Afw f fw d
s

(6-18)

Modifications to the Italian design specifications

The Italian National Research Council (CNR) proposed modifications to the Italian
national design code [CNR (2006)], which is based on the Eurocode 2 design equations as
they were formulated prior to the changes implemented in 2004. The design approach
suggested in this document implements the standard design method according to which the
contributions of concrete and shear reinforcement are added together to obtain the total shear
resistance of RC members.
The concrete contribution is modified to account for the axial stiffness of the FRP
longitudinal reinforcement according to Eq. (6-19).
1

Ef 2
1.3
Vcf =
Rd k (1.2 + 40 f )bw d
E
s

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The contribution of FRP stirrups is taken into account using the same method as for steel
stirrups. The implementation of a reduced tensile strength for FRP shear reinforcement,
however, limits the stress that can be developed in the links to the smallest of 50% of their
design strength and the strength that can be developed at the bend (Eq. (6-1)).
6.5.1.6

Design approach of Guadagnini et al.

Experimental tests carried out on FRP reinforced concrete beams by various researchers
[Duranovic et al. (1997), Tottori and Wakui (1993), Yost et al. (2001)], have provided
evidence that the restrictions imposed by the current modifications to the value of maximum
allowable strain that can be developed in the FRP reinforcement are unnecessarily
conservative (recorded values of up to 1% have been reported). Having regard to these results
and to the results obtained from an extensive experimental investigation, Guadagnini et al.
(2003) have proposed a modified approach for the design of FRP reinforced beams in which
the limit set by early design recommendations is increased to the higher value of 0.45% for
both the shear and flexural reinforcement. This modified approach, has been successfully
applied to various code equations [Pilakoutas and Guadagnini (2001), Guadagnini et al.
(2003)]. Different formulations are required for each code, however, to allow for the fact that
not all of the codes take into consideration the effect of flexural reinforcement in a similar
fashion when deriving empirically the contribution of the concrete to the total shear
resistance. Hence, they cannot be modified directly by simply taking into account the
different stiffness of the reinforcement. To compensate for this, the following modifications to
the Eurocode 2, BS 8110 and ACI-318-05 code equations are proposed when deriving the
concrete shear resistance:
Eurocode 2
1

Af E f
3
200
Vcf = 0.12 1 +

f ck bw d
100
d
bw d Es

(6-20)

BS 8110
1

Ef
100
3 400 4 f cu 3
Af

Vcf = 0.79

bw d
200
bw d
d 25

(6-21)

ACI-318-05
Ef


Vcf = Vc
Es

(6-22)

where = f y represents the ratio between the maximum strain allowed in the FRP
reinforcement, f = 0.0045 and the yield strain of steel, y.
The contribution of FRP shear reinforcement is taken into account using the same method
as for steel RC, but considering a level of stress in the shear links corresponding to the
maximum allowable strain of 0.0045.
As for the modifications to Eurocode 2 are concern, these apply to the set of equations
adopted in its latest edition [CEN (2004)]. A variable strut angle approach, however, is the
only shear design method used in the latest revision of Eurocode 2 for steel RC beams, thus

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ignoring the concrete contribution for members with shear reinforcement. Nevertheless, a
simplified, fixed strut angle approach (=45) is still recommended by the authors when
calculating the shear resistance of RC beams with FRP shear reinforcement, and the additive
nature of the shear resistance offered by concrete and shear reinforcement is maintained.

6.5.2

Punching shear in FRP RC slabs

Although experimental tests on FRP RC slabs are still limited, the evaluation of available
experimental data has confirmed that existing punching shear design procedures for steelreinforced concrete slabs need to be modified to account for the different mechanical
properties of the reinforcing material. The shear strength of slabs, however, is governed by
the same general principles as for beams (see 6.2) and it is expected that the overall
punching resistance be affected in a similar fashion when using FRPs instead of steel
reinforcement. Models proposed thus far include modifications of current design equations
that adhere to the same principles as used for FRP RC beams. Amongst the various design
recommendations available in published form to date, only those produced by ACI
Committee 440 include a proposal for punching shear design of FRP RC slabs. Models
proposed by various researchers and that had a significant input on the knowledge in this
field, however, are also reported.
6.5.2.1

Modifications to the ACI design specifications

The punching shear design procedure included in ACI 440.1R-06 [ACI (2006)] is
based on the work of Ospina (2005), who extended the beam shear concepts introduced by
Tureyen and Frosch (see 6.5.1.3) to two-way shear design. In this model, the punching
capacity of FRP RC slabs is evaluated as
Vc = 0.8 f c' bo c

(6-23)

The depth of the neutral axis, c, is calculated based on Eq. (6-11), where f is the slab
reinforcement ratio, calculated as the average of the reinforcement ratios in the two
directions. The control perimeter, bo, is calculated at 0.5d away from the column face and is
rectangular regardless of the column shape.
Eq. (6-23) can also be written as
12
Vc = k 0.33
5

f c' bo d

(6-24)

which is simply the ACI 318 punching shear equation for steel RC slabs modified by the
factor (12/5k). This modifying factor accounts for the effect of the axial stiffness of the FRP
reinforcement on the contribution of concrete to the total punching shear capacity.
Eq. ((6-23) or (6-24)) was adopted by ACI 440.1R-06 mainly because of its
conceptual similarity with the beam shear model of Tureyen and Frosch. It has been shown
that this approach renders very conservative punching capacity estimates for FRP RC slabs.
The degree of conservativeness, however, is intentional to acknowledge that punching shear
tests on FRP RC slabs are still scarce.
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6.5.2.2

Other predictive models available in the literature

Design approach of Matthys and Taerwe


Matthys and Taerwe (2000) found that the design equations in CEB/FIP MC90, EC2, and BS
8110 tend to overestimate the shear capacity of slabs reinforced with very flexible FRP bars
or grids. Based on previous work reported by Gardner (1990) and the BS 8110-95
formulation, Matthys and Taerwe proposed the following equation to calculate the punching
capacity of a two-way FRP-reinforced concrete slab.
Ef

f cm
100 f
Es

Vc = 1.36
1
d 4

bo d

(6-25)

where fcm is the mean compressive strength of concrete. As per BS 8110, the critical perimeter
bo, which is assumed to be rectangular or square regardless of the column cross-sectional
shape, is measured at a distance of 1.5d from the column face.
Design approach of El-Ghandour et al.
El-Ghandour et al. (2003) introduced two design procedures for estimating the punching
capacity of two-way slabs reinforced with FRP. The first procedure, applicable to design
models that account for the reinforcement ratio effect, is to replace f with the factor
Ef
f
k , where k is a constant equal to 1.8. This constant is obtained by dividing a FRP
Es
strain of 0.0045 (which the FRP reinforcement can mobilize) by 0.0025 (assumed yield
strength of steel).
The second model proposed by El-Ghandour et al. (2003) is a modification of the ACI
318 punching equation (Eq. (6-26)).
1

Vc = 0.33

Ef 3
f c'
bo d
Es

(6-26)

Eq. (6-26) leads to conservative predictions yet considerable scatter is observed because the
proposed modification does not account for the FRP reinforcement ratio effect.
Design approach of Ospina et al.
Ospina et al. (2003) suggested two modifications to Eq. (6-25). The first concerns the effect
of reinforcement stiffness and the second addresses the size effect. They found that taking the
Ef
slightly overestimates the effect of reinforcement stiffness whereas the
cube root of
Es
square root produces slightly better results. Notwithstanding the fact that the size effect
influences slab punching, its importance for FRP RC slabs is not evident according to the
available body of test data. On the basis of these considerations, the authors proposed the
following empirical equation:

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Vc = 2.77 ( f f c' )

Ef
Es

bo d

(6-27)

where f is the FRP reinforcement ratio, and bo is calculated as in BS 8110. The control
surface perimeter shape is rectangular regardless of the column shape.
Design approach of El-Gamal et al.
El-Gamal et al. (2005) proposed the following modification of the ACI 318 punching shear
design equation:
Vc = 0.33

f c' (1.2 ) bo d
N

(6-28)

where is an empirical factor defined as

= 0.62 ( f E f ) 3 1 +
1

8d

bo

(6-29)

where bo is evaluated as in ACI 318 and N represents the continuity effect of the slab. N shall
be zero for one span slab in both directions, 1 for slabs along one direction, and 2 for slabs
continuous along their two directions. Eq. (6-28) appears to be the only equation in the
literature, to date, that accounts for the effect of edge restraint conditions on the punching
shear capacity of FRP RC slabs.

6.6

Comments on current modifications to existing code equations

All of the modifications presented thus far have been based on the design principles
outlined in 6.4.1 (cf. 6.5.1.2), or an adaptation of it (cf. 6.5.1.3). Experimental results for a
total of about 100 beam specimens, including over 50 specimens without shear reinforcement
[Duranovic et al. (1997); Maruyama and Zhao (1994, 1996), Zhao et al. (1995), Alsayed et al.
(1997), El-Sayed et al. (2005), Guadagnini et al. (2006), Razaqpur et al. (2004), Wegian and
Abdalla (2005), Tureyen and Frosh (2002), Yost et al. (2001)], were analysed and their
ultimate shear capacity was estimated according to the design recommendations suggested by
the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE-1999) and the American Concrete Institute
(ACI 440.1R-06) to assess the reliability of the adopted design principles. The comparative
results are presented in Figure 6-7. It is worth noting that the shear capacity of the beams
examined was derived by setting the values of the various safety and load factors to unity.
Nevertheless, the comparison shows clearly that the existing recommendations are
conservative in general, and hence, provide a suitable starting point for the safe design of FRP
RC beams in shear. It can be also seen from the graphs that the two different codes examined
here yield quite different ranges of results. In comparison, the IStructE modification to the
British Standard seems to yield predictions that are in better agreement with the experimental
results, although these predictions still appear to be conservative. The disparity between the
predicted values can be attributed to differences both in the original formulation of the
empirical equations derived for steel reinforced concrete and the way in which the influence
of the change in the stiffness of the reinforcement is accounted for. Figure 6-8 and Figure 6-9,
for example, illustrate the main differences between the American and British design
equations, for both steel and FRP RC beams, by comparing the variation in the values of

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Predicted Values (kN)

concrete shear strength as a function of the flexural reinforcement ratio and concrete strength,
respectively. As can be observed, the ACI 440.1R-06 equation always estimates a much lower
concrete shear strength than is predicted by the IStructE-1999 equation. The conservative
nature of the equation proposed by ACI 440 Committee to determine the concrete shear
resistance becomes more obvious when observing the behaviour of FRP RC beams without
shear reinforcement (Figure 6-10). In addition, the equation proposed in the ACI document
implies that most of the shear is transferred through the uncracked compression zone. This
assumption, however, is questionable, especially when considering concrete elements with
shear reinforcement.
200
ACI 440.1R-06
ISE-99
150

100

50

0
0

50

100

150

200

Experimental Data (kN)

Design concrete shear strength (MPa)

Figure 6-7: Prediction of experimental shear capacities using current modification to incorporate the use of
FRP reinforcement

2.0

f`c = 36 MPa
E s = 200 GPa

1.6

E f = 45 GPa

BS8110
ACI 318-05

1.2
ISE-99

0.8

ACI 440.1R-06

0.4

0
0

3
4
Flexural reinforcement ratio (%)

Figure 6-8: Comparison of the effect of flexural reinforcement ratio on concrete shear strength according to the
British and American design equations

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1.6

f = 1%
E s = 200 GPa
1.2

ACI 318-05

E f = 45 GPa
BS8110

0.8
ISE-99
ACI 440.1R-06

0.4

0
0

10

20

30
40
50
Concrete cylinder strength (MPa)

Exp./Predicted shear capacity

Figure 6-9: Comparison of the effect of concrete compressive strength on concrete shear strength according to
the British and American design equations

4
ACI 440.1R-06
ISE-99
3

0
0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5
3.0
3.5
Flexural reinforcement ratio (%)

Figure 6-10: Prediction of shear capacity of FRP RC beams without shear reinforcement using current
modification to incorporate the use of FRP reinforcement

6.7

Detailing

6.7.1

Minimum amount of shear reinforcement

A minimum area of shear reinforcement is generally required by design codes in beams of


structural importance. Table 6.1 gives the minimum required ratio of shear reinforcement,
w,min, and the corresponding minimum design shear resistance provided by the shear links
according to some of the design guidelines reviewed above.
While BS 8110 specifies the minimum reinforcement ratio as a function of the yield
strength of the shear reinforcement, the ACI 318-05, the Canadian Standard (CAN/CSA
A23.3-94) and the Eurocode 2 (CEN 1992-1) take into account the concrete compressive
strength. In each case, the requirement for a minimum amount of shear reinforcement,
however, aims to provide an adequate shear reserve capacity by ensuring full shear transfer
across cracks and avoiding the development of large crack widths in the shear span. As a
result, it is reasonable to assume that this limit should ensure a minimum stiffness and this can
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be achieved by using a strain/stress control. The current modifications to the steel RC codes
to allow for the use of FRP reinforcement, limit the maximum strain/stress that can be
developed in the shear reinforcement and derive the minimum ratio of FRP shear
reinforcement, fw,min, accordingly (Table 6.1).
Table 6.1: Minimum ratio of shear reinforcement according to different design codes
for steel RC and relevant modifications
Steel RC
ACI 318-05

w,min
0.06 f c

1
fy

> 0.35

CSA A23.394

0.06 f c

BS 8110

0.4

EN 1992-1

0.08 f c

fw,min

FRP RC
1
fy

1
fy

0.35

CAN/CSA-S80602

0.3 f c

1
1

f fw
1
f fh

IStructE-99

0.4

Guadagnini et al.

0.08 f c

fy
fy

ACI 440.1R-06

0.0025 E f
1
0.0045 E f

ffw and ffh correspond to the design tensile strength of FRP shear links, or the stress corresponding to 0.004Ef ,
or the strength of the bent portion, whichever is least.

6.7.2

Maximum spacing requirements

Observations from tests performed on beams with GFRP shear reinforcement [Duranovic
et al. (1997), Guadagnini (2002)] have shown that a limiting situation in terms of spacing
emerged when the shear crack developed in such a way that it never crossed more than one
link. Figure 6-11 illustrates the geometry for a 45 failure line crossing vertical shear links.
By expressing the maximum spacing between the links as a function of the height, hl, of the
link, three different situations can be identified: more than one link is always crossed
(s<0.5hl), one or two links are crossed (0.5hl<s<hl) and one or less links are crossed (s>hl).

d h
l

d h
l
45

45

s < 0.5h l

0.5h l < s < h l

a) more than 1 link crossed

b) one or two links crossed

d h
l
45
s > hl
c) one or less links crossed

Figure 6-11: Geometrical arrangement for a 45 failure line crossing vertical link

If the relationship between the height of the link and the effective depth, d, of the beam is
assumed as follows:
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hl = 0.9d

(6-30)

the provision of having more than one link crossing the 45 failure line will be ensured by
limiting the maximum spacing between the stirrups to the following value:

s = 0.45d

(6-31)

The proposed value, which is lower than the recommended in the BS 8110 and Eurocode
2 (0.75d) is in line with the requirements of the ACI 318-05 design code (0.5d) and allows a
better distribution of the shear reinforcement within the shear span.

6.7.3

Effect of corners on the strength of stirrups

As reported in 6.2.4, various studies have shown that a substantial reduction in tensile
strength is noticeable at the corners of an FRP bar. This issue can become problematic when
very high strains are developed in a bar and premature failure (i.e. failure at a level of stress
below the ultimate value) is deemed to occur at the corners. These types of failure are
designed for by carrying out a check on the ultimate strain that can be safely transferred
through the bent region and by taking this as a limiting lower value (see Eq. (6-1)).

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Bond, anchorage and tension stiffening behaviour

7.1

Introduction

Bond between concrete and FRP reinforcing bars is the key to developing the
composite action of FRP RC. To secure composite action, sufficient bond must be mobilised
between reinforcement and concrete for the successful transfer of forces from one to the other.
This section will deal with bond, anchorage, tension stiffening behaviour and also behaviour
of splices and end anchorages.
Bond interaction of FRP bars is different from that of deformed steel bars in many ways.
In the case of the deformed steel bars the interaction arises primarily from the mechanical action
of the bar lugs against concrete. Once the tensile stress of the concrete is exceeded this
mechanical bond action leads to primary cracking extending to the surface. In addition multiple
secondary cracks can develop from the lugs along the length of the bar in between the primary
cracks. These secondary cracks normally are inclined and get trapped inside the concrete matrix
without surfacing. In the case of FRP bars, with lower elastic modulus and lower surface
undulations, bond interaction has more of a frictional character. Bond failure in steel bars is by
crushing of concrete in the vicinity of the lugs whereas in FRP it is largely caused by partial
failure in the concrete and some surface damage on the FRP.
Constitutive models for bond mechanics can be grouped into three levels: micro levels;
meso levels and macro levels. This categorization is mainly done depending on the size of the
control volume under investigation (see Fig. 7-1). If the behaviour of different parts of the
interface is considered, like the different mechanism by which bar lugs transfer stresses to
concrete from the rest of the bar, that is considered microlevel analysis. On the other hand if
the member response is considered in a global scale, as in the case of tension stiffening effect,
that is considered macro modelling. Results of pull out tests and direct tension tests fall in
between these two extremes as the control volume length is not short enough to simulate
micro behaviour nor long enough to simulate macro behaviour. Hence, it can be referred to as
meso level modelling. Hierarchy of bond modelling schemes is shown below.
Macro modelling

Meso level model

Micro modelling

Steel

FRP

Figure 7-1: Hierarchy of bond modelling for steel and FRP bars

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In the first part of this chapter bond is evaluated in terms of different levels according to the
hierarchy given above, first taking the macro level bond modelling followed by the meso level
modelling. As FRP has a uniform texture micro level bond modelling is not attempted.
Splitting resistance of the reinforced concrete is examined next. These sections are introduced
generally with sufficient information to allow the reader to grasp the fundamentals and
implications of bond modelling. Then the different models for modelling average bond stress
slip relationship and the transfer length of FRP are introduced. The chapter ends by
presenting different code based approaches to model bond and anchorage of FRP
reinforcement.

7.2

Macro level bond modelling: Tension stiffening effect

7.2.1

General

Post
cracking

Crack
development
stage

End slip

Pre cracking

Rebar stress ()

The ability of concrete to carry tension between cracks and provide extra stiffness to RC
in tension is defined as the tension stiffening effect of concrete. This phenomenon relies heavily
on the bond between concrete and reinforcement to transfer stresses. In other words tension
stiffening can be referred to as a global response to a local phenomenon, the bond between
concrete and reinforcement. Tension stiffening is very important for determining the structural
response especially at service loads. With the increasing use of average stress strain approaches
for characterising material properties (MCFT (Vecchio, 1986) & STMT (Hsu, 1988)) in FEM
analysis, modelling tension stiffening behaviour has become essential for FEM analysis of FRPRC elements. A direct tension test is the best way to study the influence of different parameters
on tension stiffening. Fig. 7-2 below shows a schematic response of a direct tension test.

composite strain of the

composite specimen at N

GFRP

strain of bar at

composite reinforced
concrete section
bare bar in tension

composite

GFRP

Average strain ()

Figure 7-2: Schematic representation of tension stiffening behaviour of FRP reinforced concrete.

As shown in Fig. 7-2 there are three distinct gradients to tension response of reinforced
concrete. Fig. 7-3 shows the strain distribution as derived by direct tension tests by
Sooriyaarachchi (2005) of a tension member (similar to the one shown in Fig. 7-2) during the
various stages of crack propagation. It is clear from the strain measurements that reinforced
concrete composite action between cracks is lost after crack propagation. The figure shows
the development of three cracks which take place between applied load of 37 and 53 KN. Fig.
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Bar strain (microstrain)

7-4 shows the derived bond stress distribution from strain profiles between the first and
second cracks. This shows degradation of bond at the crack face fairly early in the loading.
Peak bond stresses which are close to the crack faces at the initial loading propagate towards
the centre with increasing load confirming early bond deterioration near the crack section.
This is contrary to what is expected from steel bars where in general it is assumed that once
the bond reaches a certain maximum it maintains that value of strength and the peak value
spreads away from the crack in an almost elasto-plastic manner.
6000
Just before first crack (37 kN)
4000

2000
0

After second crack (43 kN)


4000

2
2000

1
0
After third crack (53 kN)
4000

3
2000

2
0

200

400

600

800

1000
1200
Length along the bar (mm)

Figure 7-3: Strain patterns (0 before 1st crack; 1 after 1st crack; 2 after 2nd crack; 3 after 3rd crack)

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Bar strain (microstrain)

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20000

15000

155.7 kN
135.6 kN
115.2 kN

10000

95.1 kN
75.5 kN
55.7 kN

5000

Bond stress (MPa)

0
650

700

750

800

850

35.8 kN
900
950
1000
Distance between cracks (mm)

15
155.7 kN

10
5

55.7 kN

0
5

10
15
650

700

750

800

850

900

950
1000
Distance between cracks (mm)

Figure 7-4: Typical strain distribution and bond stress distribution between cracks

7.2.2

Effect of various parameters on tension stiffening effect

Effects of reinforcement ratio, concrete strength and bar diameter were studied by
Sooriyaarachchi (2005). The ASLAN 100 bar was used in the study.
7.2.2.1

Influence of reinforcement ratio

It is important to understand how the area of concrete around the bar contributes to the
tension stiffening effect. Fig. 7-5 compares the tension stiffening effect of different
reinforcement ratios tested. As the experimental work involved testing two grades of concrete,
the results are plotted in separate graphs: Fig. 7-5(a) shows normal strength concrete (C50)
whilst Fig. 7-5(b) shows high strength concrete (C90). It is clear from the figures that tension
stiffening increases with a decrease in reinforcement ratio for the tested reinforcement ratios.
For steel reinforcement above a certain reinforcement ratio (1%), the influence of
reinforcement ratio on tension stiffening behaviour has been found to be less significant, and
it is logical to assume this trend for FRP reinforcement.
7.2.2.2

Influence of concrete strength

Concrete strength can influence the tension stiffening behaviour in two different ways.
Firstly, high strength concrete requires higher loads to crack the specimens. In addition, better

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bond between concrete and reinforcement allows stresses to be transferred more effectively
between the bar and concrete making the average stress contribution of concrete higher. Fig.
7-6 illustrates this effect by comparing different concrete strengths at constant reinforcement
ratios.
7.2.2.3

Influence of bar size on tension stiffening behaviour

900

a)

750
600
450
C50/13/200 =0.32%
C50/13/150 =0.56%
C50/13/100 =1.26%
13mm GFRP bar

300
150
0
0

5000

10000

Rebar stress (MPa)

Rebar stress (MPa)

Reinforcement ratio

Bar size is another factor that can influence tension stiffening. However, in this
experimental study no significant influence on tension stiffening was recorded for different
bar sizes when results of the same reinforcement ratio are compared as shown in Fig. 7-7.
900

b)

750
600
450
300

C90/13/150 =0.56%
C90/13/100 =1.26%
13mm GFRP bar

150
0
0

15000
20000
Strain (microstrain)

5000

10000

15000
20000
Strain (microstrain)

900

a)

750
600
450
C90/13/150
C50/13/150
13mm GFRP bar

300
150

Rebar stress (MPa)

Rebar stress (MPa)

Concrete strength

Figure 7-5: Influence of reinforcement ratio on the tension stiffening (a) C 50 (b) C90

900

b)

750
600
450
C90/19/150
C50/19/150
19mm GFRP bar

300
150

0
0

5000

10000

15000
20000
Strain (microstrain)

5000

10000

15000
20000
Strain (microstrain)

900
a)
750
600
450
C50/13/100
C50/19/150
GFRP bar

300
150
0

Rebar stress (MPa)

Rebar stress (MPa)

Bar diameter at constant reinf. ratio

Figure 7-6: Influence of concrete strength on tension stiffening (a) 13 mm (b) 19 mm bar

900
b)
750
600
450
C90/13/150
C90/19/150
GFRP bar

300
150
0

5000

10000

15000
20000
Strain (microstrain)

5000

10000

15000
20000
Strain (microstrain)

Figure 7-7: Influence of bar diameter on tension stiffening (a) C50 (b) C90 concrete ( =1.26%)

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7.3

Meso level modelling of bond

7.3.1

General

Pull out tests, tension tests and hinge beam tests can be considered as examples of experiments
on meso-level bond modelling. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages;
however, it is very important to note that all of these tests with external measuring arrangements
provide only an average bond stress slip relationship. Fig. 7-8(b) shows bond stress slip
relationships determined at various points along the reinforcing bar between cracks recorded
during direct tension tests (Sooriyaarachchi (2005)). These results have been derived by strain
profiles established during tests conducted on specially manufactured GFRP bars with strain
gauges placed at close intervals (50mm apart) near the center of the bar. Measured strain gauge
readings were then approximated using cubic splines (series of third order polynomial
functions) and were then used to derive the bond stress at various points of the bar. Results
shown in Fig. 7-8 represent only half the specimen, from the centre to the crack. These results
show clearly that local bond stresses are different from point to point and that there is no unique
bond stress slip relationship that can describe the behaviour along the bar.

25

50

75

100 125 150

Bond stress (MPa)

Strain (microstrain)

x
15000
a)

10000

15
b)
75
10

50

100

25

5
5000

125
150

0
0

0
0

50
100
150
Distance from centre to crack face (mm)

0.5

1.0

1.5
2.0
Slip (mm)

Figure 7-8: Strain profile and derived bond stress slip relationship at various locations along the bar (distances
in fig. (b) are distances measured from the centre of a tension specimen)

7.3.2

Pull out test

Despite its inability to represent the concrete stress state in most practical situations, due to
simplicity the pull-out test is the most widely used test for establishing meso level models. It is
widely used to find average bond slip relationships for FRP with short embedment lengths using
a procedure similar to steel reinforcement as reported in (CEB Bulletin, 1982). The pull-out test
can also be used to study other important design issues like splitting of concrete. Fig. 7-9 shows
a typical test arrangement used in pull out tests along with possible test results with different
modes of failure.

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FRP bar

LVDTs

Mounting rig

PTFE or
similar material

Steel frame

Debonded surface

Average bond stress (MPa)

Pullout force

20
a) =9.1mm
15

b) =15.3mm

10
5
c) =15.3mm (splitting)
0

LVDT

8
10
12
Strain (microstrain)

Figure 7-9: Testing arrangement and typical test results of a pull-out

Considering the pull out failure modes of FRP it is possible to categorize them into three
different types as shown in fig. 7-9: a) sharp post peak loss without splitting failure, b)
relatively mild post peak behavior, c) splitting failure. Splitting can again be divided into two
main categories depending on the cover crack induced failure and failure by splitting off
surrounding concrete as shown in Fig. 7-10.
a)

b)

U
PU

SP

SP

slip

slip

Figure 7-10: Different splitting failures: (a) Cover crack induced failure (b) Splitting off surrounding concrete

Chemical bond, surface roughness of reinforcement, concrete strength and reinforcement


stiffness are the main influencing factors on bond behaviour. A comprehensive account of
factors influencing bond behaviour can be found in fib Bulletin 10 (2000).
If sufficient resistance to splitting can be provided by the surrounding concrete, as for
example in the case of short embedment lengths in pull-out cube tests, then the bond stress
can reach the maximum average bond strength. Various mechanisms for the descending
branch of the average stress strain relationships can be explained as follows.
Shearing off part of or all the surface deformations of the bar
The bond strength of FRP bars in this case is not controlled by the concrete strength, but
appears to be governed either by the inter-laminar shear strength between successive layers of
fibres or by the shear strength of bar surface deformations. Therefore, unlike steel bars, an
increase in concrete strength will not be accompanied by a corresponding noticeable increase
in the bond strength of the FRP bar. This type of bond failure can yield the highest possible
bond resistance from a bar, but post peak response will be characterised by sudden loss of
bond stresses as seen in curve =9.1mm of Fig. 7-9.

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Concrete shear failure


With failure occurring in the concrete this mode of failure is similar to that of deformed steel
bars. The concrete is crushed in front of the bar deformations and the bond strength is
controlled mainly by the shear strength of concrete. In order to develop shear cracks
penetrating into the concrete (micro crack), a lot of interlocking and bond need to be
developed and it is unlikely that this would become a dominant mode of failure for FRP with
low stiffness in the radial direction.
Squeeze through
The bar could squeeze through the concrete due to its low stiffness in the radial direction.
Bond resistance is provided by friction through wedging of the bar surface deformations on
the surrounding concrete. In this case, the bond is much more ductile and the maximum bond
strength developed can be quite significant depending on the geometry of the bar
deformations, the radial stiffness of the bar and the amount of concrete confinement provided.
Combined mode
Any combination of the above listed failure modes can be another possible mode of failure.

Bond stress (MPa)

Figure 7-11, shows typical bond stress-slip characteristics obtained from pull-out tests on the
following bars: 15 mm GFRP (Aslan bar-Hughes Brothers), 15 mm C-BAR, Hedlund and
Rosinski (1997), 15 mm C-BAR, Karlsson (1997), 16 mm Swedish Ks400 and Ks600 steel
bars, Berggren (1965), Tepfers (1973), 7 wire 12.5 mm steel strand Jokela and Tepfers
(1982), CFCC (Carbon Fibre Composite Cable) 12.5 mm cable and an Arapree 2x20 mm
strip, Tepfers, Molander & Thalenius (1992). The bonded lengths were in the range of 45 to
50 mm. The concrete compressive strengths for the specimens were in the range of 43-48
MPa. It can be seen from the figure, that at the beginning of loading, the GFRP bar appears to
have a stiff behaviour. However, at increased loads, the GFRP bar shows considerable slip
and ductility. The behaviour of the GFRP bar is similar to that of the Arapree strip at the early
stages of loading. The GFRP bar specimen reached its ultimate bond strength at a slip of 4
mm. The bond strength level was similar to that of a CFCC strand. The C-BAR had the same
bond stress-slip relation as the Ks600 steel bar in a pullout test with full concrete confinement,
despite the fact that the steel bar had a higher relative rib area according to DIN 488 (0.13)
than the C-BAR (0.08). The CFCC cable and the Arapree strip, shown in the figure as scatter
bands from several tests, indicate a stiff initial response but their stiffness reduces
substantially after initial slip.
25
Ks 600 ribbed steel bar
20
C-BAR
Ks 400 ribbed steel bar
15

CFCC

Steel strand

10

ARAPREE

GFRP, test No 13

0
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5
Slip (mm)

Figure 7-11: Bond stress-slip relation for different reinforcing materials

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7.4

Splitting resistance of surrounding concrete

Though the bond of deformed FRP bars in confined conditions is in general good, or as good
as for steel bars, concrete cover should be designed not only having durability considerations
in mind, but also the splitting resistance of concrete. A full description of the theory and
testing for splitting resistance is given in Annex A. The main conclusion is that the stiffness
of the FRP bar may influence the splitting resistance of concrete by changing the angle of
the diagonal reaction force.

7.5

Analytical modelling

Analytical models of bond-slip are essential for the determination of structural


performance of FRP reinforced concrete structures by means of numerical analysis. Although
many experimental programs have been carried out examining the bond characteristics of
FRP bars, very little work has been published on analytical modelling. In the following, a
review of these works is reported.
7.5.1

Local bond modelling

Malvar (1994) proposed a refined model of the overall bond behaviour depending on two
empirical constants. These constants are to be determined by curve-fitting experimental -s
curves. Malvars model is represented by the following relationship:
F ( s / sm ) + (G 1) ( s / sm ) 2

=
m 1 + ( F 2) ( s / sm ) + G ( s / sm ) 2

(7-1)

where: m and sm are the peak bond stress and relative slip at peak bond stress;
F and G are the empirical constants depending on the type of FRP bars.
For Type A bars (with an external helicoidal tow providing both a protruding
deformation and a small indentation of the bar surface) constants F and G should take values
of 11 and 1.2, respectively.
For Type D bars (with surface deformations given by over moulding) constants F and G
should take values of 13 and 0.5, respectively.
Rosetti, Galeota & Giammatteo (1995) and Cosenza, Manfredi & Realfonzo (1995) have
successfully applied the well-known model for deformed steel rebars by Eligehausen, Popov
& Bertero (1983) (B.P.E. model) to FRP rebars. The ascending branch of this bond-slip (s
sm) relationship is given by:

s
=
m sm

(7-2)

where is an experimental parameter less than 1 ( = 0.40 in case of steel


reinforcements).
Furthermore, Eligehausen et al. (1983) proposed a model defined by the following:

a second branch of constant bond ( = m) up to a slip s = s2

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linearly descending branch from (s2, m) to (s3, 3)


a horizontal branch for s > s3, with a value of due to the development of friction
( = 3).

Values of s2, s3 and 3 have to be calibrated on the basis of experimental results. Cosenza,
Manfredi and Realfonzo (1995) proposed a modified version of this model (called double
branch model) in order to model FRP-concrete bond (Fig. 7-12). In fact, by comparing
experimental and analytical curves using the original B.P.E. model the authors found there
was no second branch (sm<s<su) in case of FRP rebars. The ascending branch is the same as in
the original model, while the softening branch is defined by the following equation:

p ( s sm )

= 1
sm
m

(7-3)

where m and sm are shown in Fig. 7-12


and p are parameters based on available experimental data.
m
Bond stress

m
sm

sm
su Slip
Figure 7-12: Modified B.E.P. constitutive law [Cosenza, Manfredi & Realfonzo (1995)]

The value of the parameter , which determines the ascending branch, is derived by
equating the area A under the ascending branch of the experimental curve equal to the area
corresponding to the analytical curve:
A =

m sm
(1 + )

(7-4)

The value p, which determines the descending branch, is evaluated by a similar


philosophy for the area underneath the experimental and analytical curves within the
softening range. Cosenza, Manfredi & Realfonzo (1995) proposed a constitutive law to model
the first branch of the -s curve (C.M.R. model):

= (1 e s / s
m

(7-5)

in which sr and are parameters based on curve-fitting of experimental data.


In an investigation conducted by Cosenza, Manfredi and Realfonzo (1995, 1996a,
1996b), the Malvar model, the modified B.P.E. model and the C.M.R. model were compared
against experimental results gathered from various research projects.

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The analysis of the experimental data has shown that:

The bond performance of FRP bars depends on the characteristics of the outer
surface and, for the same type of surface, depends on the manufacturing process;

It is generally possible to obtain bond strengths for FRP bars of similar or greater
magnitude than for steel;

Indented and grain covered bars seem to provide the best results in terms of bond
strength.

7.6

Design rules and existing recommendations

For bond of FRP reinforcement in concrete elements some code proposals have been
recently formulated in several national codes of practice:
7.6.1

Canadian Standards Association Recommendation, CSA

CAN/CSA-S806-02 (May 2002).


This standard covers requirements for the determination of engineering properties and
design of building components reinforced with FRP bars, tendons, etc.
Definitions
Development length: length of embedded reinforcement required for developing the design
strength of reinforcement.
Embedment length: length of embedded reinforcement provided beyond a critical section.

Only CFRP and AFRP reinforcing bars and grids are covered by this code. GFRP
reinforcement is permitted as reinforcement in non-structural components only (partition
walls, claddings, slabs-on-ground, and linings of floors and walls).
7.6.2

Canadian Highway Bridge Design Code, CHBDC

CAN/CSA-S6-00, Section 16, Fibre Reinforced Structures, (December 2000).


CFRP and AFRP are permitted as pre-tensioned, post-tensioned and primary
reinforcement.
GFRP is permitted as post-tensioned reinforcement, when the grout is non-alkaline nor
cement based.
For FRP bars and grids, the minimum concrete cover shall be 25 mm.
For an FRP tendon, the clear concrete cover shall be 40 mm, but not less than the
equivalent diameter of the tendon.
Anchors for aramid fibre ropes and FRP tendons in concrete shall be of suitably durable
materials, such as stainless steel and certain FRPs.
The maximum stress in FRP bars under loads at SLS shall not exceed FSLS ffu, where ffu is
the tensile strength of the FRP bar. The factor FSLS is given in Table 7-1.

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Table 7-1: Values of factor FSLS

AFRP
CFRP
GFRP

0.35
0.65
0.25

Development length ld of FRP bars in tension shall be:


ld = 0.45

k1k4

f fu

E f
d cs + K tr f cr
Es

(7-6)

where:
k1 is the bar location factor;
k4 is the bar surface factor, being the ratio of the bond strength of the FRP bar to that of
an equivalent ordinary steel deformed bar, but not greater than 1;
dcs is the smallest of the distance from the closest concrete surface to the centre of the bar
being developed, or two-thirds of the centre-to-centre spacing of the bars being developed, in
mm;
Ktr is the transverse reinforcement index (specified in Clause 8.15.2.2), in mm;
For FRP grids in which the intersecting orthogonal bars are fully anchored, the
development length shall be such as to include at least two transverse bars of the grid lying
perpendicular to the direction of the force under consideration.
Capacity of anchors shall be designed such that the FRP tendon can develop 90% of its
specified tensile strength.
The end zones of pre-tensioned concrete components shall be reinforced against splitting,
unless it can be demonstrated that such reinforcement is not necessary.

7.6.3

Japan Society for Civil Engineering (JSCE recommendation)

The JSCE code on concrete structures with continuous fibre reinforcement which was
published in September 1997 deals with bond in the following manner.
Basic development length
As a rule, basic development length of continuous fibre tension reinforcement is to be
obtained by appropriate experiment.
The basic development length of an FRP bar may be calculated from equation 7-7 when
reinforcement with bond splitting type of failure is expected, but it can not be less than 20d, d
being the diameter of the bar.

ld = 1 f fd / ( 4 fbod ) d > 20d

(7-7)

where:
1 1.0 (for kc 1.0);
0.9 (for 1.0 < kc 1.5);
0.8 (for 1.5 < kc 2.0);
0.7 (for 2.0 < kc 2.5);
0.6 (for 2.5 < kc);

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kc = c / d + (15At) / [(sd) (Et/Eo)] ;


The design bond strength of concrete is given by:
fbod = 2 ( 0.28 f ck 2/3 / c ) < 3.2 N / mm 2

(7-8)

where

c =1.3 when f ck <50 N/mm2 and c =1.5 in all other cases;


2 is:

equal to 1 when the bond strength of FRP bars is equivalent or greater than the bond
strength of deformed steel bars;
less than 1 when the bond strength is lower than the bond strength of steel bars.
When reinforcement is placed within the top 30 cm of concreting and in a direction with an
angle less than 45o to the horizontal direction, the basic development length shall be 1.3 times
ld obtained by equation 7-7.
The basic development length for compression FRP reinforcement may be taken as 0.8
times ld obtained following all the previous provisions.
General considerations
Development length for continuous fibre reinforcement depends on the kind of
reinforcement, concrete strength, concrete cover and transverse reinforcement. Experiments
need to be conducted considering this fact. In order to obtain the development length
experimentally, it is preferable to adopt tests with which the actual bond characteristics in
members is reflected such as the tests with beam specimens or lap splices.

"Test Method for Bond Strength of Continuous Fibre Reinforcing Materials by Pull-Out
Testing (JSCE-E 53)" does not reflect bond characteristics in actual members, and thus
overestimates bond strength. It should be avoided to calculate the basic development length
by using the bond strength fbod obtained by this method.
Based on mechanics equilibrium of forces, the embedded length for a straight bar can be
written as in equation 7-9 and the bond stress as in equation 7-10.
l o df bod =
f bod =

d2
4

fy

d fy
4 l0

(7-9)
(7-10)

The development length for steel reinforcement with transverse reinforcement is


recommended by JSCE (1997) to be (equation 7-11):

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fy

13.3 d
1.25 f '

cd

l0 =
15
At
c

0.318 + 0.795 +

sd
d

(7-11)

The bond stress of an FRP straight bar can be then calculated by substituting equation 7-11 in
equation 7-10, allowing for the modular ratio Et/Eo (Et=Ef and Eo=Es) (equation 7-12):

fbod

c 15 At Et
0.318 + 0.795( +
)
d
sd Eo
=
1
53.2

fy
3.2 f cd'

(7-12)

Test value for bond strength (MPa)

For continuous fibre reinforcement with deformation on its surface which fails by bond
splitting, the experimental bond strength is compared with that calculated by equation 7-12 in
Figure 7-13.
7

Concrete
Normal
Light-weight
Steel bar

CFRP bar
AFRP bar
0
0

3
4
5
6
7
Calculated value for bond strength (MPa)

Figure 7-13: Comparison of bond strength (eq. 7-12) with test results, JSCE (1997)

Fig 7-13 indicates that equation 7-12 may be used for the cases of continuous fibre
reinforcement with bond splitting failure. However, continuous fibre reinforcement with
deformations which cause bond splitting failure may possess bond strength less than that of a
steel deformed bar. For this type of reinforcement the modification factor 2 ( 1.0) needs to
be multiplied for calculating bond strength by equation 7-8. The value of 2 is generally
obtained by experiment since there is not sufficient data at present.
For the reinforcement whose bond failure is of the pull-out type, basic development
length needs to be obtained and verified experimentally.
The term of 15At/(sd) represents the effect of transverse reinforcement. The smaller the
Young's modulus is, the less effect on the bond splitting strength is.

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7.6.4

American Concrete Institute design recommendations

(ACI Committee 440 - 2006)


The design of structural concrete utilising Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) bars is presented
as an extension of the current ACI code requirements for steel reinforced structures (ACI 31805). Thus the proposed code requirements are analogous to current provisions but appropriate
changes to accommodate the differences in the algorithms and the structural behaviour
between the FRP and the steel reinforced elements are presented.
Development and splices of (non-prestressing) reinforcement

The basic development length ld for FRP bars in tension can be obtained by:

ld =

0.083 f c
c
13.6 +
d

340
d

(SI)

(7-13)

where:
bond stress to be developed
c - spacing or cover dimension
top bar modification factor
= 1.4 horizontal reinforcement so placed that more than 300mm of fresh concrete is cast
in the member below the development length or splice
= 1.0 other reinforcement
Comments

The factor accounts for the position of the reinforcement in freshly placed concrete. The
value of 1.4 is based on research results.
The concrete cover has a significant effect on the type of the failure mechanisms. If the
cover c is less or equal to the diameter d, a splitting failure may occur. If c is larger than d, a
pull-out failure may occur.
Experimental tests have indicated that the value of the ratio of the evaluated bond strength
in the specimens with concrete cover of between d and 2d varied between 1.2 and 1.5 (1.5 is a
more conservative value).

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Design philosophy

8.1

Introduction

The successful replacement of conventional steel with FRP as concrete reinforcement


requires the examination of many design aspects and likely modes of failure. The previous
sections deal with the various modes of failure or fracture expected from the elements made
of FRP RC and present predictive models. However, it is also necessary to assess if the
conventional approach to RC design is still fully valid. This chapter is an outline of Annex B,
which investigates the design philosophy of existing design guidelines and deals with a new
design philosophy framework.

8.2

Examination of philosophy of existing guidelines

Design guidelines and state-of-the-art reports for FRP RC structures have been published
in Japan [JMC (1995), JSCE (1997)], Canada [CAN/CSA (1996), ISIS (2001), CSA-S806
(2002)], USA [ACI 440-96 (1996), ACI 440-98 (1998), ACI440.1R-01 (2001), ACI440.1R03 (2003), ACI440.1R-06 (2006)], and Europe [Clarke et al. (1996), Thorenfeldt (1998)]. The
design recommendations in these documents are mainly provided in the form of modifications
to existing steel RC codes of practice, which are predominantly using the limit state design
approach. The modifications consist of basic principles, which are heavily influenced by the
unconventional mechanical properties of FRP reinforcement, and empirical equations that are
based on experimental work on FRP RC elements. The brittle linear-elastic behaviour of FRP
reinforcement is an influencing factor behind all of the existing design guidelines.
An approach for developing design guidelines such as the one described above, may seem
reasonable, but may not be entirely appropriate. The rationale behind this statement is that
steel RC codes of practice assume that the predominant failure mode is always ductile due to
yielding of the flexural reinforcement. However, this is not the case for the above FRP RC
design guidelines, which assume that brittle flexural failure would be sustained due to either
concrete crushing or rupture of the FRP reinforcement. In addition, existing codes of practice
have fundamental structural safety uncertainties (see Annex B), which in conjunction with the
change in the type of failure and other design issues relevant to FRP RC, have major
implications for the structural design and safety of FRP RC elements [Neocleous et al.
(2005)].
One of the structural safety uncertainties of steel RC codes of practice is the lack of
published records about the methods and data used by code committees to calculate the
material partial safety factors [Neocleous et al. (2004)]. It is also not known whether the
application of the partial safety factors would lead to notional structural reliability levels (Pf)
that attain the target level adopted by codes of practice. Another uncertainty arises if the
actual resistance-capacity of the predominant failure mode is higher than the unfactored value,
as codes of practice do not provide any information about the failure mode that will actually
occur first (i.e. flexural yielding, flexural concrete crushing or shear) and at which load level.
One possible way of tackling this problem is through the concept of resistance-capacity
margins (RCMs), which determines the capacity margin between any two failure modes.
RCM may be represented as the ratio of the mean resistance-capacities predicted for each
failure mode (equation 8-1).

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RCM

failure (ii ) failure (i )

failure - mod e (ii )

(8-1)

failure - mod e (i )

In addition to the above uncertainties, there are design and safety philosophy issues that are
directly related to FRP RC elements (see Annex B). Examination of the design and safety
philosophy of the IStructE (1999) guideline led to the following findings [Neocleous (1999),
Pilakoutas et al. (2002)].
Concrete crushing is the most probable type of flexural failure because the ultimate
tensile strength of FRP reinforcement is rarely attained in normal-strength concrete
sections.
The use of partial safety factors for longitudinal reinforcement (f,L) may not be
essential for the flexural design of FRP RC beams, if the type of flexural failure
intended at design is concrete crushing.
The assumption that the application of a specific value of f,L would always lead to the
desired type of flexural failure is not valid for all design configurations. This is
especially true for large values of f,L.
The notional structural reliability of FRP RC elements is variable due to the effect of
design parameters, such as the ratio of permanent to variable load, concrete
compressive strength and ratio of longitudinal reinforcement.
The effect of the above parameters on the notional structural reliability is influenced
by the type of failure for which the flexural design is performed.
The ratio of permanent to variable load has the greatest effect on the notional
structural reliability.
Capacity margins between the flexural and shear failure mode are not uniform.
Additional design issues that require further investigation, arise when considering the
long-term behaviour of FRP RC elements. The application of multiple strength-reduction
factors that are indented to account for the long-term effects of FRP reinforcement may not
lead to the mode of failure aimed at the short-term design or may lead to uneconomical
designs. It is therefore essential to develop appropriate design provisions that take into
account the long-term behaviour of FRP reinforcement. One possible solution is to use the
short-term properties for the limit state design and, subsequently, to verify that (at specific
time intervals), the applied stress is less than the design strength of FRP that is available at the
specific time interval.

8.3

Design philosophy: background to a refined approach

In view of the above findings, the design of FRP RC elements is based on the level 1
approach of structural reliability theory with the main aims being the attainment of a desired
failure-mode-hierarchy and the satisfaction of the target reliability levels [Neocleous et al.
(2005)]. This design philosophy is implemented through a framework (Figure 8-1), which
may form part of the overall code development process presented by Nowak and Lind (1995).
The design philosophy discussed here is elaborated in Annex B; and its application is
demonstrated for FRP RC beams.

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Figure 8-1: Application of possible philosophy for FRP RC [Neocleous et al. (2005]

The elaborated framework, if adopted by codes of practice, could enable the determination
of appropriate partial safety factors for FRP reinforcement, as illustrated in Figure 8-2
[Neocleous et al. (2005)].
The validity of this framework is demonstrated in Annex B for concrete beams reinforced
with carbon and glass FRP reinforcement (both longitudinal and transverse). Possible failure
modes for FPR RC beams were initially defined and the primary failure modes (i.e. flexural
concrete crushing and shear) were then identified and classified according to their seriousness
in order to formulate the desired failure-mode-hierarchy. The flexural concrete crushing was
selected as the predominant failure mode for design purposes. Appropriate partial safety
factors were then determined by carrying out structural reliability analyses and cost
optimisation. Although, the value of partial safety factor for longitudinal reinforcement does
not influence the Pf for flexural concrete crushing, to be conservative, it was decided to select
the lowest partial safety factors examined (1.15 and 1.3 for carbon and glass FRP,
respectively). The partial safety factors for the transverse FRP reinforcement were selected on
the basis of the cost optimisation (see Annex B). The selected partial factors were used for the
limit state design and structural reliability of two FPR RC beams that were tested
experimentally and failed due to concrete crushing.

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Figure 8-2: Application of possible design philosophy for FRP RC [Neocleous et al. (2005)]

The implications of the design philosophy introduced here for code developers and
manufacturers are quite significant. A comprehensive application of this design philosophy
would require the analysis of a greater amount of failure modes and, hence, it is necessary that
reliable resistance-capacity prediction models are developed for each failure mode under
consideration. Furthermore, the concept of the failure-mode-hierarchy would minimise the
necessity of developing additional design guidelines and codes of practice each time a
construction innovation becomes available.
Since innovation in the field of FRP reinforcement is expected to continue, it is believed that
the values of the partial safety factor of FRP reinforcement (adopted for each failure-modehierarchy) should be provided by the FRP manufacturers according to the framework
discussed above and be subjected to appropriate independent verification. The manufacturers
should provide the code developers with material characteristics and any information that is
essential for the development of any failure-mode-hierarchy.

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Splitting resistance of concrete

A.1

Introduction

This annex deals with the description of the theory and testing for splitting resistance of the
surrounding concrete and is related to bond modelling as discussed in Chapter 7.

A.2

General

In most structures bars have limited confinement by concrete side covers of about 20 to
50mm. For these bars bond failure happens as a splitting of the concrete cover. The less
confined bars are surrounded by two concrete covers cx and cy in the corners of a crosssection, Fig.A-1. These corner bars should form the basis for estimating values for splitting of
concrete. Splitting of concrete around the FRP is mainly due to redial stresses induced by
bond action exceeding the tensile strength of concrete as other micro crack generating
mechanisms are less pronounced in FRP reinforced concrete. Avoiding splitting failure is
essential for continuation of structural performance of the member.
In order to predict the capacity of a short anchorage, and to describe the pattern of the
splitting cracks and the hoop action in the concrete cover, the so called hydraulic-pressure
analogy (Fig. A-1) has been introduced since mid seventies by Tepfers (1973 and 1979).

fr

fr

fr

cy
d
cy

cx

d
1

Figure A-1: Tensile stress distributions in 1 elastic, 2 partly cracked elastic and 3 plastic stage

Figure A-2 shows the relation between bond stress, , at cover cracking along the bar, and
concrete tensile stress, fct, as a function of concrete cover thickness, cy, normalised with
respect to the bar diameter, d. Tepfers (1973, 1979) developed predictive equations for at the
elastic stage, partly cracked elastic stage and plastic stage for the reaction force at an angle
= 45o, as illustrated in Figure A-2. Results from tests with Swedish Ks600 steel bars and CBARs, fall between the partly cracked elastic and plastic stages, Karlsson (1997). However,
the C-BAR results are closer to the plastic stage. Results from tests by Hedlund and Rosinski
(1997) on the GFRP bar are grouped above the line that corresponds to the plastic stage.
However, good agreement is achieved if, for the plastic stage, the angle is reduced to 30o, as
shown by the dotted line. Therefore, it may be concluded that these particular GFRP bars with
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a sand coated surface exert a lower lateral splitting pressure against the surrounding concrete
than the bars with large surface deformations.

/f ct

c y /d
Figure A-2: Effect of thickness of concrete cover upon bond capacity of pull-out specimens on occurrence of
concrete cover cracking along the bar. Open circles Ks600 steel reinforcing bars, closed circles GFRP bars
(Hughes Brothers) and cross marks C-BARs,Tepfers (1997)

In elastic stage:
2
2

d d
c y +
2 2
1

;
=
2
2
f ct tan
d d
c y + +
2 2

In partly cracked elastic stage:

(A-1)

d
cy +

=
;
f ct [1.664 d tan ]

(A-2)

In plastic stage:

f ct

A.3

2c y
d tan

(A-3)

Tests on splitting resistance of concrete

Eccentric pull out tests, ring pull out tests or splice tests can be used to investigate the
splitting resistance of concrete.
A.3.1

Pull out test with eccentrically placed bars

The concrete cover splitting resistance along the bar can be studied in a pull-out test with
eccentric placement of bar. Figure A-3 shows bond stress-free bar end slip relations for the
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specimens. Strain gauges should be used to monitor the appearance of the cover crack. In very
strong concretes the non-linearity of stress in the cover is not so pronounced and the elastic
stress configuration results in earlier cover cracking. If the bar is very hard compared to
concrete, stresses from concrete shrinkage may add to the bond ring stresses. Also differences
in thermal elongation between concrete and FRP bar in its radial direction may give rise to
extra stresses. This test is not so well fitted to study the final splitting off of the surrounding
concrete, because the support friction doesnt produce the ideal combination of stresses for
splitting concrete in a practical situation. Benchmark results obtained from pull-out tests with
ordinary deformed steel reinforcing bar of corresponding diameter should be used for
comparison.
200
slip measurement
strain measurement

s = 3.13d
steel plate with hole
for the reinforcing bar
200

150

cy
P

strain measurement with


the gauge length 40mm

(kp cm 2 )

ELEVATION

PLAN

crack
699-9-4

100
699-9-3
790-15-5
790-15-2

790-15-4

50

790-15-3
790-15-6

790-15-1

0
0

0.5

1.0

1.5
(mm)

Figure A-3: Bond stress-free bar end slip for pullout specimens with eccentric bar placement.
The bond stress levels for cracking of the concrete cover along the bar are marked in the diagram
for the specimens, Tepfers (1993).

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A.3.2

Ring pull out test

The Ring pull-out test in Fig.A-4, is a more sophisticated test, which enables to determine
the splitting tendency of a bar in a direct way. With the "Ring pull-out test", Tepfers & Olsson
(1992), the angle of the bond forces in different stages of load can be estimated. The
splitting tendency of the bar/rod increases, when the angle increases. The ring pull-out test
is a small cylindrical concrete body with axially placed bar. The bond length is 3 bar
diameters and the height of the concrete cylinder is equal to the bond length. A thin steel
cylindrical shell surrounds the concrete cylinder. At loading the radial and longitudinal bond
force components are separated by a ring support with several teflon sheet layers, which
prevents radial forces to be taken by the support. The circumferential strain of the steel
cylinder caused by the radial bond stress components is measured with strain gauges. The
bond stress component relation determines the angle , which may change and increase when
load increases. The measured free bar end slip and ring strains are shown in Fig. A-5.

Figure A-4: Ring test for estimation of splitting tendency of reinforcing bars.

sr [m/m]
F (kN)
1500

pull-out force F (kN)

28
24

strain in the steel ring


Fmax

20
1000
16

500

Fr
teflon

strain gauge

bearing

48

12

0.65

4
114

0 (Fr)

(Fmax) 2

5
Slip (mm)

Figure A-5: Bond stress free bar end slip and steel ring strain slip relations for Ring test.

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A.3.3

Overlap splice test

For basic information on splitting resistance of the surrounding concrete, confining


reinforcement and influence of uneven bond stress distribution along the bars, the
investigation of the overlap strength of spliced reinforcement is an adequate test procedure,
Fig. A-6. Several splice lengths, different concrete strengths, different cover confinement and
confinement by stirrups should be tested. It is questionable if the bond resistance in an overlap
splice is the same or lower than that of a single anchored bar with the same concrete covers.
F

A - A Cross section (spliced section)

325

A
500

900

stirrups 6/100

50

220 Ks 60

cx

cx

cx

cx

cy

300

300

50

500

225 GFRP

cy

A
c x = c x = 45mm
c y = c y = 30mm

Figure A-6: Example of beam lay out for testing the strength of tensile reinforcement overlap splices.
Distribution of bond stresses
TYPE 1

cy
cx

cx

cx

cx

cx

cx

cx

cx

cx

cx

f bu

Mode of
failure A
fbu > f bc

cover crack

TYPE 2
cy

f bu

Mode of
failure B
fbu < f bc

f bc

TYPE 3
cy

cover crack

TYPE 4
cy

f bu of type 1 or 6

Mode of
failure C
fbu < f bc

no cover cracks

TYPE 5

cy

TYPE 6

cy

cx

cx

Figure A-7: Distribution of bond stresses for the failure modes A, B and C. (Tepfers, 1973)

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- f bu equal to the smallest ultimate failure pattern bond stress of appropriate type
- f bc equal to bond stress which initates the cover crack.
When the bond reaches failure, for two side by side overlapped reinforcing bars, the bond
stress distribution along the bars can be as in the three modes according to Fig. A-7.
Mode A shows bond evenly distributed when the cover along the overlapping length is
cracked. The bond stress resistance fbu of the cover cracked surrounding concrete is higher
than the bond stress at cracking of concrete cover fbc.
Mode B shows an uneven bond stress distribution with cover cracks at the ends of the overlap
splice. The bond stress resistance fbu of the cover cracked surrounding concrete is lower than
the bond stress at cracking of concrete cover fbc. The cover cracked and uncovered parts of
splice determine the maximum bond resistance. In cover cracked parts the ability to slip of the
bar increases and the bond stress becomes evenly distributed.
Mode C shows an uneven bond stress distribution. When the bond stress fbu is reached, which
cracks the cover, it immediately results in pressing off the surrounding concrete. The failure
has zipper character and gives no warning of visible cracking before failure.

Evaluation of bond requires the analysis of possible resistance mechanisms by checking


geometry, cracking sequences and stress distributions. There is also the question of single or
double pressure developed in lapped bars, Fig. A-7. It is not possible to compare directly the
results from single bar pull-out versus spliced bar types since the cracking sequence and stress
distributions may be very different. For certain FRP bars the bond force angle may be less
o
than 45 , which means that these bars have less splitting tendency and give good anchorage,
when concrete cover determines the resistance. However these bars may give less resistance,
when confinement is excellent because of a weak surface layer. FRP bars with glossy surface
and ribs give pronounced splitting forces and early failure by pressing off concrete cover, but
may give high pull-out resistance when confinement is good, because of strong FRP bar
surface layer.

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Background to a new design philosophy

B.1

Introduction

This annex deals with the design philosophy issues and initially examines the approach
taken by the existing guidelines as it assesses the level of safety offered and proposes a new
design philosophy framework. The new framework is evaluated by applying it to a specific
FRP product.

B.2

Examination of philosophy of existing guidelines

The widespread application of any new type of reinforcement, as such as FRP, requires
the development of product specifications, testing standards and design guidelines, a process
that can take many years to be completed. This section deals with design philosophy and
safety of the existing design guidelines for FRP. It then discusses the main issues of structural
safety uncertainty.
B.2.1

Existing design guidelines

The design guideline published by the Japan Society of Civil Engineers [JSCE (1997)] is
based on modifications of the Japanese steel RC code of practice [JSCE (1996)], and it can be
applied for the design of concrete reinforced or prestressed with FRP reinforcement. The
guideline provides a set of partial safety factors for the ultimate, serviceability and fatigue
limit states (Table B-1). It is noted that the partial safety factors adopted for the ultimate and
fatigue limit states are slightly higher than the ones used for steel reinforcement. The design
model adopted for the ultimate limit state of bending covers both types of flexural failure;
however, there is no information about the predominant mode of flexural failure that would
result from the application of the proposed partial safety factors. The guideline may also be
utilised as a reference document, since it includes general information about different types of
FRP reinforcement, quality specifications, and characterisation tests for FRP materials.
Table B-1: Partial safety factors, f, proposed for FRP reinforcement by JSCE (1997)

Limit state
Ultimate
Serviceability
Fatigue

Aramid FRP
(AFRP)
1.15
1.0
1.15

Carbon FRP
(CFRP)
1.15
1.0
1.15

Glass FRP
(GFRP)
1.3
1.0
1.3

CSA-S806 is the most recent Canadian guideline on the design and construction of
building components with FRP. In addition to the design of concrete elements reinforced or
prestressed with FRP, the guideline covers a range of structural elements: FRP elements,
fibre-reinforced-concrete and FRP cladding as well as concrete and masonry elements
strengthened externally with FRP. The guideline also includes information about
characterisation tests for FRP internal reinforcement. The guideline was approved, in 2004, as
a national standard of Canada, and is intended to be used in conjunction with the national
building code of Canada [CAN/CSA A23.3 (2004)]. Regarding the ultimate limit state design
of FRP RC elements, there is limited information about the design philosophy of the
guideline, especially for the preferred type of flexural failure; a strength reduction factor ()
of 0.75 is adopted for all types of FRP reinforcement.
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The Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence on Intelligent Sensing for Innovative


Structures has also published a design manual that contains design provisions for FRP RC
structures [ISIS (2001)]. The guideline also provides information about the mechanical
characteristics of commercially available FRP reinforcement. This guideline is based on
modifications to the Canadian steel RC code of practice [CAN/CSA A23.3-94 (1994)].
The American Concrete Institute published a guideline on the design and construction of
concrete reinforced with FRP bars [ACI440.1R-06 (2006)], which is primarily based on
modifications of the ACI-318 steel RC code of practice [ACI-318 (2005)].
Both the ISIS and ACI440.1R-06 guidelines seem to assume that the predominant mode of
failure would be flexural, which would be sustained due to either concrete crushing
(compressive failure) or rupture of the most outer layer of FRP reinforcement (tensile failure).
To distinguish between the two types of flexural failure, the reinforcement ratio of balanced
failure (fb) is checked in the design procedure. If the actual reinforcement ratio (f) is less
than fb, it is assumed that flexural failure occurs due to rupture of FRP reinforcement.
However, if f is greater than fb, then it is assumed that the element will fail due to concrete
crushing. In the ideal situation where f is equal to fb, the concrete element is balanced and
hence, flexural failure would occur due to simultaneous concrete crushing and rupture of the
FRP reinforcement. It should be noted that, for FRP RC elements, the concept of balanced
failure is not the same as in steel RC construction, since FRP reinforcement does not yield
and, hence, a balanced FRP RC element will still fail in a sudden, brittle manner.
Table B-2 shows the values of adopted for the ultimate limit state design by the ISIS and
ACI440.1R-06 guidelines The ISIS guideline adopts the same values of for both the flexural
and shear design, however, different values of are used for each type of FRP reinforcement.
The ACI440.1R-06 guideline uses different values of for each type of flexural failure, while
- for the shear design - it adopts the value of used by ACI-318. It is also noted that, for the
flexural design, the ISIS guideline applies on the internal forces, while the ACI440.01R-06
applies on the moment capacity. ACI440.01R-06 also applies environmental reduction
factors on the FRP tensile strength to account for the long-term behaviour of FRPs.
Table B-2: Ultimate strength reduction factors , adopted by ACI440.1R-06 and ISIS guidelines

Flexure: Concrete
crushing

Flexure: FRP rupture


Shear

ACI440.1R-06

ISIS

0 .3 + 0 .25 f for fb < f < 1.4 fb


fb

0.6a, 0.8b, 0.4c

or 0.65

for f 1.4 fb

0.55
0.75

AFRP, b CFRP, c GFRP

The European design guideline published by Clarke et al. (1996) is based on


modifications to European RC codes of practice [BS810 (1997), CEN (1992)]. This guideline
was also published as an interim guidance on the design of FRP RC structures by the
Institution of Structural Engineers [IStructE (1999)]. The guideline includes a set of partial
safety factors for the material strength and stiffness, shown in Table B-3, that take into
consideration both the short and long term structural behaviour of FRP reinforcement. Hence,
the adopted values are relatively high when compared with the values adopted by other
guidelines. The guideline does not make any distinction between the two types of flexural

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failure and, in addition, does not provide clear indications about the predominant failure
mode, which would result from the application of these partial safety factors.
Table B-3: Partial safety factors, f , proposed for FRP RC structures by Clarke et al (1996)

Strength
Stiffness
B.2.2

AFRP
2.2
1.1

CFRP
1.8
1.1

GFRP (E-Glass)
3.6
1.8

Structural safety uncertainties

One of the structural safety uncertainties of steel RC codes of practice is the lack of
published records about the methods and data used by code committees to calculate the
material partial safety factors [Neocleous et al. (2004)]. It appears that the majority of the
material partial safety factors have been calibrated with pre-existing practice and experience
by accounting for the variability of material strength. Over the years, these factors have been
progressively reduced to account for improvements in manufacturing processes, design
models and quality control procedures used in the construction industry. Modern codes of
practice, such as Eurocode-2 [CEN (2004)], have adopted partial safety factors that have been
primarily calibrated with pre-existing design methods, but have been further amended by
safety level-2 probabilistic methods [CEN (2002)].
It is also not known whether the application of the partial safety factors would lead to
notional structural reliability levels (Pf) that attain the target level adopted by codes of
practice. In the case of Eurocodes, it is considered that the application of the partial safety
factors will generally attain the target value of 7x10-05 (or safety index, , of 3.8), adopted for
the design working life of structural elements [CEN (2002)]. However, the Eurocodes do not
provide any information about the range of Pf, expected for various types of concrete
elements and failure modes (i.e. limit states). Various structural reliability assessments
suggest that the structural reliability of steel RC elements, designed according to the 1992version of Eurocode-2, varies enormously [Neuenhofer and Zilch (1993), Duprat et al (1995),
Neocleous et al. (2004)]. This is mainly due to the effect of various design parameters, as
demonstrated in Figure B-1 for steel RC beams designed according to the 1992 version of
Eurocode-2. It is worth noticing that the ratio of the permanent to variable load (termed in
Figure B-1 as Load ratio) has the greatest effect on the structural reliability for both flexure
and shear limit states. As different load ratios are implicitly used in different types of
structures (due to their geometry and intended application), it is evident that there is no
uniformity in structural reliability amongst different types of concrete structures [Neocleous
(1999), Neocleous et al. (2004)].

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Figure B-1: Effect of design parameters on flexural and shear structural reliability [Neocleous et al. (2004)]

Another uncertainty arises from the fact that the actual resistance-capacity (Ractual) of RC
is often different from the un-factored value (RU) predicted at the design stage. This variation
exists because the actual mechanical and geometrical properties of steel reinforcement and
concrete are different from those used for the prediction of RU; model uncertainties also
account for this variation. The resistance-capacity variation could be modelled by probability
density functions, as exemplified in Figure B-2 for the flexural yielding, flexural concrete
crushing, and shear failure modes.

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Annex B Background to a new design philosophy

Relative frequency

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Applied load
Flexural (yielding)
Flexural (concrete crushing)
Shear

shear
SU SD RD RU R yielding
insitu
crushing
Resistance-capacity
Figure B-2: Example of resistance-capacity margin between flexural and shear failure modes, after [Neocleous
et al. (2005)]

The value of RU is predicted by using the characteristic values of the main parameters
(such as the strength of concrete and steel reinforcement) and, as shown in Figure B-2 for the
predominant mode of failure, RU corresponds to a value at the lower tip of the probability
density function of the failure mode and it is normally expected to be lower than Ractual.
However, if Ractual of the predominant failure mode is much higher than RU, steel RC codes of
practice do not provide any information about the failure mode that will actually occur first
(i.e. flexural yielding, flexural concrete crushing or shear) and at which load level.
One possible way of tackling this problem is through the concept of resistance-capacity
margins (RCMs), which determines the capacity margin between failure modes. RCM,
between any two failure modes, may be represented as the ratio of the mean resistancecapacities predicted for each failure mode (equation B-1) [Neocleous (1999), Neocleous et al.
(2004)]. In addition, RCMs can be correlated to the probability of occurrence of specific
failure as demonstrated in Figure B-3 for the flexural yielding and shear failure modes
[Neocleous (1999)]. It is noted that Figure B-3 shows that the RCM between the shear and
flexural (yielding) failure mode of rectangular steel RC beams ranged from 0.9 to 2.1 and 1.1
to 2.8 for BS8110 and Eurocode 2 (1992-version, [CEN (1992)]).

RCMfailure (ii) failure ( i) =

failure-mode (ii)
failure-mode (i)

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Figure B-3: Correlation of RCM and probability of occurrence of shear failure mode prior to flexural yielding

In addition to the above uncertainties, there are design and safety philosophy issues that
are directly related to FRP RC elements. These issues - discussed below - were investigated
through a probabilistic structural reliability assessment of forty-eight singly-reinforced FRP
RC beams [Neocleous (1999), Pilakoutas et al. (2002)]. The IStructE (1999) guideline was
used to design the beams. The characteristic fc (fck) of these beams ranged from 21 to 43 MPa,
whilst f ranged from 0.75% to 2.5%. Two types of FRP longitudinal and transverse
reinforcement were considered: CFRP with a characteristic tensile strength (ffk) of 1272 MPa
and characteristic Youngs modulus (Efk) of 106 GPa, and GFRP with ffk equal to 747 MPa
and Efk equal to 41.5 GPa.
Concrete crushing is the most probable type of flexural failure because the ultimate tensile
strength of FRP reinforcement is rarely attained in normal-strength concrete sections
[Neocleous (1999), Pilakoutas et al. (2002)]. This is exemplified in Figure B-4 for the CFRP
RC beams examined in the probabilistic analysis. The strain values, calculated at the design
stage for concrete in compression and CFRP rebars in tension, indicate that only six of the
beams attained the design limit for the ultimate tensile strain of CFRP (i.e. 0.0067). These six
beams were expected to fail due to rupture of the CFRP rebars, while the remaining beams
were expected to fail due to concrete crushing.

Figure B-4: Strain calculated at design stage for concrete (compression) and CFRP rebars (tension), (f,L = 1.8)

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Annex B Background to a new design philosophy

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Strain calculated at design


stage

Furthermore, the use of partial safety factors for longitudinal reinforcement (f,L) may not
be essential for the design of FRP RC beams, if the type of flexural failure intended at design
is concrete crushing [Neocleous (1999), Pilakoutas et al. (2002)]. This is because the tensile
strain developed in FRP reinforcement does not change with the value of f-L (Figure B-5)
and, consequently, the flexural RD (Figure B-6) and notional structural reliability (Figure B-7)
will not change with the value of f,L. For example, when a f,L of 1.8 is used, beams 3, 4, 19,
20, 34 and 35 are expected to fail due to FRP rupture. When a f,L of either 1.3 or 1.15 is used,
all beams are expected to fail due to concrete crushing; however, their flexural capacity and Pf
do not change for the value of f,L. It is noted that f,L becomes relevant for elements designed
to fail in flexure due to rupture of the FRP rebars, since the f,L will affect the strain developed
in concrete and FRP reinforcement as well as the design capacity and structural reliability of
the element. It is clear that other design provisions will be required to account for the
variation in the mechanical properties of FRPs, if f,L is not used at the design stage. It is
possible that these uncertainties could be accounted for by the partial safety factor adopted for
concrete strength. It is noted the partial safety factor used for the transverse reinforcement
(f,T) affects the shear capacity and, consequently, the structural reliability of FRP RC beams.
Thus, this factor is essential for the shear design of FRP RC elements [Neocleous (1999)].
f ,L = =
1.81.8
FRP
f ,L = =1.3
1.3
FRP
f ,L = 1.15
FRP=1.15

0.009
0.007
0.005
0.003
1

10

13

16

19

22

25 28
Beam

31

34

37

40

43

46

Design flexural capacity (kN)

Figure B-5: Effect of f,L on tensile strain in CFRP reinforcement, calculated during the flexural design of
CFRP RC beams [Neocleous (1999)]
FRP
f ,L = 1.8
= 1.8

1500

FRP
f ,L = 1.3
=1.3

1200

FRP=1.15
f ,L = 1.15

900
600
`

300
0
1

10

13

16

19

22 25
Beam

28

31

34

37

40

43

46

Figure B-6: Effect of f,L on design flexural capacity of CFRP RC beams [Neocleous (1999)]

fib Bulletin 40: FRP reinforcement in RC structures

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f,L = 1.8
1.8
f,L = 1.3
1.3
1.15
f,L = 1.15

1.E-14

Flexural P f

1.E-12
1.E-10
1.E-08
1.E-06
1.E-04
1

10

13

16

19

22 25
Beams

28

31

34

37

40

43

46

Figure B-7: Effect of f,L on flexural structural reliability of CFRP RC beams [Neocleous (1999)]

Another design and safety philosophy issue rises from the assumption that the application
of f,L would always lead to the desired type of flexural failure. This assumption is not always
valid, especially for the large values of f,L. Although the application of large f,L is normally
expected to lead to failure due to FRP rupture, the actual failure would occur due to concrete
crushing [Neocleous (1999), Pilakoutas et al. (2002)]. For instance, when a f,L of 3.6 was
used for the design of the GFRP RC beams, the failure intended at the design stage was
flexure due to FRP rupture. However, it was calculated that, for most beams, there was a very
high probability that the actual failure will occur due to concrete crushing. Similar
probabilities of occurrence were calculated when a f,L of 1.3 was used.
Similarly to steel RC codes of practice, existing guidelines for FRP RC do not provide
enough information about the structural reliability of FRP RC elements. Neocleous (1999)
evaluated that the flexural structural reliability of FRP RC beams is not uniform across the
range of beams examined (Figure B-8). This is due to the effect of the ratio of permanent to
variable load (G/Q ratio), fc and f. These parameters also affect the shear structural reliability
of FRP RC beams (Figure B-9). It is noted that the effect of these parameters on structural
reliability is influenced by the type of flexural failure assumed at the design stage (Neocleous
(1999). Figures B-8 and B-9 also indicate that the G/Q ratio has the greatest effect on
structural reliability and it may be more appropriate to use different partial safety factors (or
load factors) for each G/Q ratio and different types of structures.
G/Q load ratio = 0.5
= 0.75%
= 1.25%
= 1.75%
= 2.5%
G/Q loadSeries8
ratio = 1
= 0.75%
= 1.25%
= 1.75%
= 2.5%
G/Q loadSeries9
ratio = 2

1.E-14
1.E-12

Flexural P f

1.E-10
1.E-08
1.E-06

= 0.75%
= 1.25%
= 1.75%
= 2.5%

EC1 Target Level for Design Life


1.E-04
25

30

35

40
45
Mean fc, MPa

50

55

60

Figure B-8: Flexural structural reliability for CFRP RC beams designed with a f,L of 1.8 [Neocleous (1999)]

124

Annex B Background to a new design philosophy

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G/Q load ratio = 0.5


= 0.75%
= 1.25%
= 1.75%
= 2.5%
G/Q load Series14
ratio = 1

1.E-08

Shear P f

1.E-07

= 0.75%
= 1.25%
= 1.75%

1.E-06

1.E-05
EC1 Target Level for Design Working Life

1.E-04
25

30

35

40
45
Mean fc, MPa

50

55

= 2.5%
G/Q load Series15
ratio = 2
= 0.75%
= 1.25%
= 1.75%
60
= 2.5%

Figure B-9: Shear notional structural reliability for CFRP RC beams designed with a f,T of 1.8 [Neocleous
(1999)]

Furthermore, the FRP RC design guidelines do not provide any information about the
RCMs between the shear and flexural capacity of FRP RC elements. The structural reliability
analysis performed for the 48 FRP RC beams showed that the shear-flexural RCMs are not
uniform across the range of beams considered in the analysis. In addition, parameters such as
, fc and f affect the RCMs between the two failure modes and it is therefore possible to
attain a desired failure mode hierarchy by applying appropriate limits on these parameters
[Neocleous et al. (2005)].
Additional design issues that require further investigation, arise when considering the
long-term behaviour of FRP RC elements. The application of multiple strength-reduction
factors that are intended to account for the long-term effects of FRP reinforcement may not
lead to the mode of failure aimed at the short-term design or may lead to uneconomical
designs. It is therefore essential to develop appropriate design provisions that take into
account the long-term behaviour of FRP reinforcement. One possible solution is to use the
short-term properties for the limit state design and, subsequently, to verify that (at various
time intervals), the applied stress is less than the design strength of FRP that is available at
each time interval.

B.3

A new design philosophy

In view of the above findings, the design of FRP RC elements is based on the level 1
approach of structural reliability theory with the main aims being the attainment of a desired
failure-mode-hierarchy and the satisfaction of the target reliability levels [Neocleous et al.
(2005)]. This design philosophy is implemented through a framework (see Chapter 8, Figure
8-1), which may form part of the overall code development process presented by Nowak and
Lind (1995).
B.3.1

Design framework based on a new philosophy

The first step (1.1) in the framework of the design philosophy discussed here is carried out
as part of the general definition of the scope and data space of the code of practice [Neocleous
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et al. (2005), Nowak and Lind (1995)]. It involves the definition of all possible failure modes
that can be predicted for each type of FRP RC element (i.e. configuration) covered by the
code of practice.
In the second step (1.2), the primary failure modes are selected for each type of FRP RC
element. This involves classification of the each failure mode in terms of the type of failure it
represents and the seriousness of the damage caused by each failure mode [Neocleous et al.
(2005)].

Relative Frequency

The third step (1.3) comprises the definition of criteria for formulating failure-modehierarchies for each type of FRP RC element. A failure-mode-hierarchy account for all
primary failure modes, and their sequence should follow the degree of undesirability of each
mode of failure. The most favourable failure mode is placed on top of the hierarchy whilst the
least favourable one is placed at the bottom of the hierarchy. In the example of Figure B-10
the most favourable mode of failure for FRP RC beams is flexural concrete crushing, whilst
the least favourable is bond failure [Neocleous et al. (2005)].
FMH: Flexure - Shear - Bond
Flexural Resistance
Shear Resistance
Bond Resistance
Applied Load

load

flexure (compression)

shear

bond
Resistance-Capacity

Figure B-10: Concept of failure mode hierarchy for FRP RC beams [Neocleous et al. (2005)]

The fourth step (1.4) in the process involves the definition of rules for establishing
appropriate RMCs between each primary failure mode. The selection of RCMs is expected to
be influenced by the relative cost of the excess resistance-capacity; however, it is logical to
assume that a substantial margin will be required between the most and least favourable
modes in the hierarchy. In the example of Figure B-10, a lower RCM is chosen between shear
and bond failure, whilst a higher margin is used between flexure and bond.
In the fifth step (1.5), the target reliability level of the code is defined. Appropriate target
reliability levels can be generally derived from calibration to existing design practices and
experience, provided that the application of these practices does not result into highly nonuniform notional reliability levels [Ditlevsen (1997)]. In the case of FRP RC elements, this
approach cannot be applied due to the lack of comprehensive design practices and experience.
Target levels can also be determined by considering social, economic or socio-economic
constrains that are relevant to structures [CEB Bulletin D Information No 191 (1988)]. These
constraints vary with the type of structure, use of structures and the social and economic
conditions that exist in the country that the structures are to be built [CIRIA Report 63
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Annex B Background to a new design philosophy

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(1977)]. It must be noted that the successful application of these techniques requires extensive
economic data. In the current case, it is expected that the Eurocodes will form the basis of the
new design guideline and therefore, it is reasonable to adopt the lifetime target level of 7x1005
that is currently adopted by the Eurocodes [CEN (2002)].
B.3.2

Application of a new design philosophy for FRP RC

The framework introduced in the previous section, if adopted by codes of practice, could
enable (through the following procedure) the determination of appropriate partial safety
factors for FRP reinforcement, as illustrated in Figure 8-2 [Neocleous et al. (2005)].
The first step (2.1) in the procedure involves the definition of appropriate FMHs and
RCMs for each type of structural elements using the specific reinforcing materials. At this
step, appropriate models are developed to predict the elements resistance-capacity for each
failure-mode (contained in the selected FMHs).
In step 2.2, different design configurations are chosen for each type of element from the
entire data space of the code, and their structural reliability is probabilistically assessed for the
failure modes contained in each FMH. This is performed for different partial safety factors.
Each design configuration is checked to establish whether it satisfies the target RCMs and Pf.
Based on the above, a set of partial safety factors is determined for each FMH (step 2.3)
by utilising the concept of average measure of closeness between the code and the target Pf, as
presented by Nowak and Lind (1995). The objective of this concept is to optimise the
structural design by comparing the structural reliability with the corresponding expected total
cost of construction.
It must be emphasised that, to attain the desired RCMs, it may be necessary to impose
limits on the design parameters considered by each limit-state prediction model. This would
result in the attainment of the chosen FMH and the satisfaction of the target Pf. Since the new
philosophy aims at the differentiation of structural reliability for various types of structures,
individual partial safety factors should be specified for each type of structure (e.g. buildings,
bridges) covered by the code of practice.

B.4

Application of framework for CFRP RC and GFRP RC

The validity of the framework discussed here needs to be demonstrated for a number of
structural elements (e.g. beams and slabs) and FRP reinforcement. For simplicity, the
framework is demonstrated only for the case of concrete beams, reinforced with either CFRP
or GFRP FRP reinforcement (both longitudinal and transverse). As in the previous section,
the first stage involves the establishment of the design framework. The second stage deals
with the determination of partial safety factors for the selected reinforcing materials.
B.4.1

Establishment of design framework

The first step (1.1) in this procedure involves the definition of all possible failure modes
for each type of element covered by the code of practice. The following failure modes are
defined as possible for the ultimate limit-state design of CFRP and GFRP RC beams.
1.A Flexure due to concrete crushing.
1.B Flexure due to fracture of longitudinal FRP reinforcement.
2.A Shear due to fracture (or lack) of transverse FRP reinforcement.
2.B Shear due to concrete failure.

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3.A
4.A
4.B
4.C

Torsion
Bond due to splitting.
Bond due to splicing.
Bond due to anchorage.

The definition of the possible failure modes is followed by the identification of the
primary modes and classification according to their seriousness (step 1.2). Flexural failure due
to reinforcement fracture is unlikely due to the unrealistically low needed to achieve it. The
most likely type of flexural failure to be sustained by FRP RC beams is concrete crushing.
Shear failure due to concrete failure is only likely in un-reinforced or over-reinforced in shear
RC beams. Both situations are normally covered by using lower and upper limits for
transverse reinforcement. Hence, the most likely shear failure mode is failure due to fracture
of the transverse reinforcement. Since torsional stresses are normally small in RC beams, this
mode is not considered in this study. Bond failure may be desirable, if a pseudo-ductile bond
behaviour can be ensured, however this is not the case for the reinforcing bars under
examination. Though the bond characteristics of FRP re-bars are generally good [Achillides
and Pilakoutas (2002)], the models for design are still being developed and as a result, this
mode of failure is not considered in the present study. Flexural failure due to concrete
crushing and shear failure due to fracture of transverse reinforcement are therefore selected as
the primary modes of failure.
The establishment of criteria for the formulation of the desired FMHs is the next step (1.3)
in the procedure. Both primary modes of failure selected are brittle in nature, even though the
flexural mode dissipates some inelastic energy through concrete non-linearity in compression.
From the two modes, the flexural mode has the most reliable prediction models and as result,
is selected as the predominant mode of failure for design purposes.
The formulation of the FMH is followed by the definition of target values for the RCMs
(step 1.4). It must be emphasised that such targets have never been discussed by code
developers, standardisation committees and researchers. Therefore, the RCMs, evaluated for
steel RC beams in previous studies [Neocleous et al. (2004), Neocleous (1999)] are presumed
to be sufficient. Similarly, the value of 7x 10-5 (set as a target Pf by Eurocode-1) is considered
to be appropriate.
B.4.2

Determination of appropriate f

The establishment of the design framework is followed by the determination of


appropriate short-term partial safety factors for the chosen materials. Table B-4 summarises
the tensile strength and Youngs Modulus of the CFRP and GFRP reinforcement used in this
study, which was developed during the Eurocrete project (Duranovic et al. (1997, 1997a)].
Table B-4: Mechanical properties of CFRP and GFRP reinforcement

Tensile Strength (N/mm2) Elastic Modulus (N/mm2)


GFRP

CFRP

GFRP

CFRP

Mean

810

1380

45000

115000

Standard Deviation

40.5

69

2250

5750

Characteristic k

747

1272

41500

106000

Tensile strain of CFRP and GFRP reinforcement: 1.2% and 1.8%, respectively

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Annex B Background to a new design philosophy

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The first step (2.1) in this procedure, which has to be followed for any new material,
involves the definition of appropriate FMHs and RCMs for the FRP RC beams. A single
FMH is adopted here, since only two primary failure modes are considered, one of which has
already been selected as the most desirable mode of failure. Hence, flexural failure due to
concrete crushing is located at the top of the hierarchy and is followed by shear failure due to
fracture of the transverse FRP reinforcement. In the general code development stage, it was
decided to adopt target RCMs that reflect the current steel RC practice and hence, the average
value of 1.4 is adopted as target for the flexure-shear RCM. In addition, the resistancecapacity prediction models [Pilakoutas et al. (2002), Guadagnini et al. (2003)], developed as
part of the ConFibreCrete (1998) research network are used.
The next step (2.2) is to perform structural reliability analyses to determine the flexural Pf,
shear Pf and flexural-shear RCMs for the values of f tabulated in Table B-5. The values for
the f,L and partial safety factor for transverse reinforcement (f,T) were selected by
considering the findings of previous investigations [Neocleous (1999)]. The assessment was
carried out for 48 different design configurations. The analyses were performed by utilising
the Monte-Carlo Simulation method [Ayyub B. M. and McCuen (1995)] in conjunction with
the Latin-Hypercube and Conditional-Expectation variance reduction techniques [Avramidis
and Wilson (1996)].
Table B-5: f examined in the structural reliability assessment

CFRP reinforcement

GFRP reinforcement

f,L

1.15

1.3

f,T

1.15, 1.5, 1.8

1.5, 1.75, 2

Results obtained for the flexural Pf indicated that, for the selected f,L, the target Pf was
attained by all design configurations. Whereas in the case of shear Pf, the target Pf was
achieved by all design configurations, only if the value of CFRP,T and GFRP,T was 1.8 and 2
respectively.
Regarding the RCM, the target value of 1.4 was attained by all design configurations only
if the values of CFRP,T and GFRP,T were 1.8 and 2, respectively. It is noted that the value
chosen for f,L does not affect the flexure-shear RCMs, as the design aimed to achieve flexural
failure due to concrete crushing.
he use of f,L also does not influence the flexural Pf (provided that flexural failure occurs
due to concrete crushing). Therefore, it may be possible to eliminate the use of f,L and
incorporate the uncertainties relevant to the longitudinal FRP reinforcement in the partial
safety factor (c) adopted for fc. However, this will require the modification of c used
currently in flexural limit state design. To be conservative, it is decided to use the values of
f,L currently examined (1.15 and 1.3 for CFRP and GFRP reinforcement respectively) for
short-term loading conditions, since they reflect uncertainties in material characterisation. A
limit is also imposed on (equation B-2) to eliminate the possibility of flexural failure
occurring due to reinforcement fracture.

min =

0.81 ( f ck + 8) c
f
f f k ( fk + c )
Ef k

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The concept of average measure of closeness [Nowak and Lind (1995)], (expressed in
terms of structural utility), T (equation B-3), is utilised to select appropriate values for FRP-T.
The selection criteria comprise the attainment of the target RCMs and Pf and minimisation of
the resulting cost of construction. To perform such an assessment, it is necessary to estimate
the demand function, Dfj, for each configuration. Dfj is expressed as the product of the
frequency of occurrence estimated for each of the main design parameters, considered by each
configuration (equation B-4). The main design parameters are , fc and PVL-ratio. The values
of the frequency of occurrence, estimated for each of these variables, are summarised in Table
B-6.

T = MD f d s

(B-3)

D fj = f fc f G k f

(B-4)

Qk

Table B-6: Frequency of occurrence (f) for , fc and PVL-ratio

0.5 - 1.0
1.0 - 1.5
1.5 - 2.0
2.0 - 3.0

0.25
0.25
0.25
0.25

fc
N/mm2

f fc

20 - 30
30 - 40
40 - 50
50 - 60

0.25
0.25
0.25
0.25

G
PVL-ratio k
Qk

0.01 - 0.8
0.8 - 1.5
1.5 - 2.5
-

f Gk
Qk

0.3
0.5
0.2
-

The metric function, Mj, for each design configuration is taken as the total cost of
construction, CTj (equation B-5). The CTj and initial cost of construction for each design
configuration, CIj, are determined by equations B-6 and B-7, respectively. The cost of failure
for each design configuration, CFj, (such as the cost of loss of use and cost of fatalities) is
determined by considering a number of scenarios as indicated in Table B-7. Table B-8 shows
the unit prices adopted for the cost of concrete and cost of CFRP and GFRP reinforcement. It
is noted that the same prices are used for longitudinal and transverse reinforcement.
M j = CT j

(B-5)

C T j = C I j + C F j Pf j

(B-6)

CI j = CCj + CR j

(B-7)
Table B-7: Scenarios considered for cost of failure

Scenario

CFj

CIj

3 CIj

10 CIj

100 CIj

1000 CIj 10000 CIj

Table B-8 Indicative unit price for ready mix concrete and FRP reinforcement

Ready Mix Concrete CFRP Reinforcing Bars GFRP Reinforcing Bars


/m per 13.5mm
/m per 13.5mm
/m3
(per10x4mmlink)
(per 10x4mm link)
55

130

1.95

0.82

Annex B Background to a new design philosophy

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The values of T obtained for the shear failure mode (Tables B-9 and B-10) indicated that
T increases slightly with the value of f,T. This is due to the increase in the CRj for transverse
reinforcement; more transverse reinforcement is required as f,T increases. Furthermore, the
results of the cost-optimisation indicate that, for the small values of f,, the average measure
of closeness increases significantly, as CFj becomes relatively large. This is due to the
increased influence of Pf on CTj. It is also observed that the shear average measure of
closeness is significantly higher for PVL-ratio equal to 1. This is due to the relatively longer
beam spans used for this particular PVL-ratio.
Table B-9: Cost-optimisation results for CFRP RC beams (shear failure)

Load Ratio CFRP-T Average Pf

Average Measure of Closeness for each Scenario,


1
2
3
4
5
6

0.5

1.15
1.5
1.8

1.7E-05
2.3E-06
4.4E-07

29.76
30.34
30.84

29.77
30.34
30.84

29.79
30.34
30.84

30.08
30.37
30.84

32.94
30.71
30.89

61.59
34.03
31.39

1.15
1.5
1.8

4.1E-05
3.7E-06
4.0E-07

58.68
59.70
60.62

58.70
59.70
60.62

58.76
59.71
60.62

59.57
59.77
60.63

67.64
60.45
60.70

148.31
67.24
61.39

1.15
1.5
1.8

3.5E-05
2.1E-06
1.5E-07

33.46
34.06
34.62

33.48
34.06
34.62

33.54
34.07
34.62

34.37
34.12
34.63

42.66
34.62
34.66

125.54
39.67
35.03

Table B-10: Cost-optimisation results for GFRP RC beams (shear failure)

Load Ratio GFRP-T Average Pf

Average Measure of Closeness for each Scenario,


1
2
3
4
5
6

0.5

1.5
1.75
2

5.2E-06
1.1E-06
2.3E-07

29.97
30.35
30.73

29.97
30.35
30.73

29.97
30.35
30.73

30.05
30.36
30.73

30.85
30.50
30.75

38.78
31.92
31.00

1.5
1.75
2

1.4E-05
2.0E-06
2.9E-07

58.98
59.66
60.34

58.99
59.66
60.34

59.01
59.67
60.34

59.28
59.70
60.35

61.99
60.08
60.40

89.02
63.84
60.88

1.5
1.75
2

1.6E-05
2.1E-06
2.1E-07

33.69
34.09
34.50

33.69
34.09
34.50

33.72
34.10
34.50

34.11
34.15
34.51

37.97
34.66
34.56

76.57
39.78
35.08

It was decided to select the highest value of f,T considered in the assessment (Table B-11),
as the application of these values seemed to be the most economical (for scenarios 5 and 6)
and it also satisfied both the target RCMs and Pf.

Table B-11: f selected for the shear failure mode

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B.4.3

PVL-ratio

CFRP

GFRP

0.5

1.8

1.75

1.75

Design example

The f, recommended for load ratio equal to 0.5, are used for the limit state design and
structural reliability assessment of two FRP RC beams that were tested during the Eurocrete
project [Duranovic et al. (1997), (1997a)] and failed in flexure due to concrete crushing. This
is to verify that the application of the chosen f leads to the desired FMH and satisfies the
target Pf and RCMs.
Table B-12 summarises the results obtained from the design and the structural reliability
assessment of the two beams. It is clear that the application of the proposed f leads to the
desired FMH, since the shear resistance-capacity is higher than the flexural resistancecapacity. In addition, it is observed that the target RCMs are satisfied. It must be noted that
there is a good correlation, in particular for beam CB17, between the flexural resistancecapacity and the experimental resistance-capacity. The values obtained for the flexural and
shear Pf indicate that the Pft of 7x10-05 is satisfied for both failure modes.
Table B-12: Design results for beams GB9 and CB17

Experimental Load, kN
Design Load Fd, kN
Flexural Pf
Flexural resistance-capacity
Mean value, flexure, kN
Design value, kN
Shear Pf
Shear resistance-capacity
Mean value, shear, kN
Design value, kN
RCM

132

GB9
103.6
63.3
2.7E-07

CB17
127.6
72.5
1.0E-06

100.6
63.3
1.7E-17

127.2
72.5
7.3E-16

164.5
65.0
1.6

175.4
72.9
1.4

Annex B Background to a new design philosophy

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References
Achillides, Z. (1998), Bond behaviour of FRP bars in concrete, PhD thesis, Centre of Civil and
Structural Engineering, Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, The University of Sheffield,
Sheffield.
Achillides, Z. and Pilakoutas, K. (2002), Analytical approach to the bond behaviour of FRP bars in
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